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Rick Santorum repeats inaccurate welfare attack on Obama

August 28, 2012|By David Lauter
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum addresses the Republican National… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Sen. Rick Santorum accused President Obama of creating a “nightmare of dependency” and undermining welfare reform as he became the only one of Mitt Romney’s primary rivals to receive a significant speaking role at the Republican convention.

In a speech that mentioned Obama frequently, but Romney only in passing, Santorum attacked the president for trying to centralize control over education and for undermining families and freedom.

But it was his reprise of an inaccurate Romney campaign attack on Obama over welfare that gave Santorum’s speech its hardest edge.

“This summer he showed us once again he believes in government handouts and dependency by waiving the work requirement for welfare,” Santorum said, referring to Obama.

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

In fact, Obama did not waive the work requirement.

His administration in July issued a letter to state governments saying that the Department of Health and Human Services would consider requests from states to experiment with new ways to fulfill the work requirements. The letter said that in order to receive waivers to carry out the experiments, states would have to show that their plans would move more welfare recipients into jobs than existing policies.

The bulk of Santorum’s speech focused on the socially conservative themes that fueled the primary campaign and made him Romney’s most significant opponent in the final stage of the GOP contest. He decried the “assault on marriage and the family” and blamed poverty on the decline of moral values.

“The fact is that marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is highest,” he said. “We must stop the assault on marriage and the family.”

As he did repeatedly on the campaign trail, Santorum closed his speech by telling his listeners the story of his 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who was born with severe disabilities. “She has made our lives – and countless others – much more worth living,” he said.

“I thank God that America still has one party that reaches out their hands in love to lift up all of God's children -- born and unborn,” he added, drawing sustained applause from the assembled delegates.

david.lauter@latimes.com
On Twitter @DavidLauter

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