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Morning Examiner: ‘They Just Send You Your Welfare Check’

Mitt Romney released a new 30-second attack ad accusing President Obama of “gutting” President Clinton’s bipartisan 1996 welfare reform law today. The ad, titled “Right Choice,” will begin airing in key swing states, and says:

In 1996, President Clinton and a bipartisan Congress helped end welfare as we know it. By requiring work for welfare. But on July 12th, President Obama quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare. Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.

Conservatives have been pushing for Romney to embrace this issue ever since The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector first broke the story on July 12th. Rector, who worked with Republicans on the 1996 reform and watches the Department of Health and Human Services like a hawk, noticed a new administration directive establishing that state administered work requirements created by the 1996 reforms could be ignored if the state first got a waiver from the Obama administration. Problem is, while Congress did create a process for the Secretary to issue waivers for some welfare reform requirements, Congress specifically excluded the work requirement from the Secretary’s waiver authority. So not only is Obama’s new welfare directive bad policy, but it is also illegal.

The Obama administration insists that the new HHS memo merely gives states more flexibility to administer their welfare to work programs. They point to a 2005 letter signed by Republican governors, including Romney, asking for “increased waiver authority.” But that letter does not ask Congress to extend the waiver authority to the work requirement, as Obama presumes to do. And, as the Romney campaign points out, Romney retained his state’s welfare work requirements when he was governor.

The invocation of President Clinton and “bipartisan” welfare reform is no mistake either. Nothing in the Obama administration has been done a bipartisan basis. To the extent that voters do remember the 90s fondly, this ad reminds them that Obama has repeatedly failed where Clinton succeeded.

Campaign 2012
Money: Romney and the Republican National Committee outraised Obama and the Democratic National Committee in July, $101.3 million to $75 million.

Polls: Gallup reports that 9 percent of those who say they voted for Obama in 2008 are planning to vote for Romney this year. Only 5 percent of McCain voters say they are planning to vote for Obama.

Obama: Speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut, Obama called Romney’s tax plan Robin Hood in reverse – “Romney Hood.”

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Fed Official Calls for Bond Buying: Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, called on the Fed to launch an aggressive, open-ended bond buying program that the central bank would continue until economic growth picks up and unemployment starts falling again.

Fox News, Illinois to Spend More on Pensions Than on Education: The state of Illinois faces at least $83 billion in unfunded liability between its five pension systems, and is on track to spend more on its government pensions than on education by 2016, a new study released by Governor Pat Quinn’s office says.

Righty Playbook
The Washington Examiner‘s Byron York reports 1,099 felons illegally voted in the 2008 Minnesota Senate race, a number greater than the margin if victory.

RedState‘s Erick Erickson urges conservatives to support Mark Neumann over Eric Hovde in the Wisconsin Senate race.

Timothy Taylor posts a chart showing that spending on entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, are crowding out spending on education and infrastructure.

Lefty PLaybook
The Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen says Harry Reid is practicing “gutter politics” and adds, “For a long time it’s been difficult to believe anything he says. Now, it’s impossible.”

Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur reports that Reid has no plans to stop lying about Romney.

Think Progresssays Romney is the one trying to deny veterans the right to vote in Ohio.