At convention, Santorum repeats myth about Obama’s welfare policy

Updated

In his speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum repeated the Romney campaign’s false charge that Barack Obama had waived the welfare work requirement and undone Clinton-era welfare reform.

“President Obama’s policies undermine the traditional family, weaken the education system,” he told the Tampa, Fla., crowd on Tuesday night. “And this summer he showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare.”

“I helped write welfare reform; we made the law crystal clear—no president can waive the work requirement,” he went on. “But as with his refusal to enforce our immigration laws, President Obama rules like he is above the law.”

The Romney campaign first claimed that Obama had revoked work requirements for welfare recipients in early August. As Lean Forward noted at the time, that claim was completely groundless, though it has since become a frequent Republican talking point. In fact, the official party platform accuses Obama of dropping welfare work requirements not once but twice.

“Welfare has been a classic tool to pry apart working class whites from working class whites,” said msnbc’s Chris Matthews before Santorum’s speech. He argued that the Republican Party’s false claims about welfare were racial dog whistles.

Following Chris Christie’s keynote address, msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell challenged Santorum on the accuracy of the welfare talking point. Santorum did not directly answer the question, instead claiming that Obama had “waived work requirements earlier in his term on food stamps.”

Rick Santorum

At convention, Santorum repeats myth about Obama's welfare policy

Updated