In the Arena

Another Bad Day For Romney

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The theme of the day for the Romney campaign was, as Alex Rogers notes below, that Obama’s Soft on Welfare. It sort of flopped. The factoid planted at the microscopic center of the non-story is that the Obama campaign allegedly granted states the right to request waivers from the current welfare work requirements…which is true, except for the following things:

1. The waivers would be granted only if states came up with alternative ideas to create jobs for people on welfare.

2. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney himself asked for such a waiver in 2005.

And, this third bit is just too good…

3. As governor, Romney offered welfare recipients free auto insurance, registration, inspections and memberships in AAA. From the original Boston Herald piece:

“Over 80 percent of participants have moved off of welfare,” said Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho.

Under Romney’s Car Ownership Program, the state paid out one year’s insurance, inspection, excise tax, title, registration, repairs and a AAA membership for cars that were donated to welfare recipients. Under the plan, those who lost their jobs and ended up back on welfare were allowed to keep their free wheels.

Now, let me make two points:

1. This Romney–the guy who invented what the Herald called “Welfare Wheels”–is the same guy who launched on Rick Perry during the primaries for offering college scholarships to the children of illegal immigrants. In fact, he’s still against–maybe, I guess, but we can’t be too sure, because, well, he’s refusing to answer the question–the federal Dream Act, which would grant citizenship to such children who graduated college or served into the military. But cars for welfare recipients was, somehow, just fine. (By the way, I applaud Romney’s program and congratulate him on the 80% success rate.)

2. How incompetent is the Romney campaign? They keep coming up with these stupid gambits–the last was the lie that Obama opposed early voting for members of the military in Ohio–that are shot down instantaneously (everywhere but in Fox-Rush land). And worse, the Democrats–who seem to have a superior oppo team–can often produce counter-stories, like the Herald item, that make things even worse for Romney.

But there is a larger question here: How stupid does he think we are? Every day brings a mind-boggling act of untruth-telling. Last week, he told Sean Hannity that his economic plan “is very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan.” Except for the fact that Simpson-Bowles raised $2 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years and Romney’s plan raises…well, he won’t say, but so far he hasn’t identified one red cent. I can’t remember a candidate so brazenly allergic to facts. What a travesty.

(PHOTOS: The Rich History of Mitt Romney)