The Mitt Romney campaign has been trotting out Newt Gingrich to help advance its false claim that a policy shift approved by President Obama scraps the work requirement for welfare recipients. But on Wednesday night, Gingrich undermined the charge by acknowledging there’s “no proof” it’s true.
“I think if the ad makers had asked me, I would have said, ‘This makes it possible,’ would have been a good way to enter into what it said,” Gingrich told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, adding: “We have no proof today, but I would say to you under Obama’s ideology it is absolutely true that he would be comfortable sending a lot of people checks for doing nothing.”
The notion that Obama’s ideology suggests he’d be “comfortable” sending welfare checks for nothing represents a retreat from what Gingrich had said earlier in the day. In a statement sent out by the Romney campaign, the former speaker accused Obama of “undoing the [Welfare Reform] act’s central concept of a welfare-to-work requirement.”
It’s perhaps not surprising that Gingrich felt the need to back off Romney’s attack. As we wrote Tuesday, the Obama administration’s memo announcing the welfare policy shift makes clear that states seeking flexibility on welfare’s work requirements must show their approach is better at moving people from welfare to work.
Asked about that on Morning Joe Thursday, Gingrich offered a new argument. “I’ll give you a direct answer,” he said. “None of us believe them.”