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Romney's Relentless Push for Independents Waters Down His Welfare Reform Argument

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Back to the audio sound bites we go here, ladies and gentlemen.  We have Romney, who was in Des Moines, Iowa, today at a campaign event.  The liberals are not gonna like this.  He's basically continuing on his anti-Obama welfare reform tack that he has been on recently.

ROMNEY:  President Clinton and the Republicans who were in Congress at the time came together on an bipartisan basis and said, welfare in the future is going to require work.  People who receive payments from government are gonna be required to work, not as a punitive measure, but as a gift.  Work is enhancing.  Work is elevating.  And there were some who said, oh, this will be terrible.  There will be poor on the streets.  You know what happened?  As a result of putting work together with welfare, the number of people on welfare was cut in half, poverty was reduced.  Five straight years the level of poverty in this country came down.

RUSH:  Okay, this gonna be one of those hard days.  I have to tell you, I think that sound bite could have been so much better.  Why is it important to say Bill Clinton and the Republicans who were in Congress at the time came together, bipartisan basis?  It's this relentless push for independents which have abandoned Obama already, or at least they had. I don't know where they stand now. I think poll to poll they're still pretty much with Romney.  And they did it on their own.  You didn't have to promise independents bipartisanship or any of this other rotgut.  They don't like Obama's economic policy.  But, you see, the campaign consultants of the establishment, they're locked themselves 30 years ago, or five years ago. 

By the way, welfare reform did not come about by virtue of bipartisanship.  Welfare reform wasn't the Democrats and the Republicans setting aside their differences and embracing arm in arm and kumbaya and saying, "You know what?  We love each other for this day, and we'll do this policy of welfare reform."  That's not how it happened.  Bill Clinton was unalterably opposed to welfare reform.  He stooped against it and vetoed it three times.  He was forced into signing welfare reform by an aggressive Republican Congress.  There was nothing bipartisan about this.  This was pure hardball politics.  We still had a number of relatively young members of Congress on the Republican side who hadn't yet learned about all this bipartisan nonsense. 

They were making something happen that they believed in.  They forced Clinton into this.  It was a matter of his reelection.  The country was sick and tired of freeloaders.  The country was receptive to the notion that if you're a freeloader, you're at least gonna have to work or try to get work in order get welfare, and when Clinton signed it, there wasn't any bipartisan.  Everybody from Jesse Jackson to Sheila Jackson Lee to everybody else, the Congressional Black Caucasians, running around, "You better fix this after you got reelected."  And Clinton promised them that he would fix it.  And what did that mean?  Getting rid of it. It meant getting rid of work requirements.  The Democrats never wanted it. There wasn't any bipartisanship. 

That's not what this election is about.  This election is not about people determining who they're gonna vote for based on who can work well with the other side.  It's gone way beyond that now.  There's nothing on the other side worth compromising for.  What about Obamacare do we want to accept?  What is there about any Obama economic policy that we'll compromise on just to get some sort of bipartisan agreement?  But when Romney says this, it's clear to me when I listen to the bite that he thinks the important thing in this sound bite, "President Clinton and the Republicans in Congress at the time came together on a bipartisan basis and said welfare reform --" the Democrats said no such thing! 

The Democrats were dragged screaming and kicking into this.  And finally last week, they had all that work requirement stuff taken out, with Barack Obama and an executive order.  He just ripped it out.  There wasn't any bipartisan about this.  This was a full-fledged conservative Republican victory over the Democrats.  It was made to look bipartisan because a Democrat president went along with it after vetoing it three times.  The important thing about welfare reform is what Obama did to it last week, not what happened with Clinton and the Republicans in the nineties.  Gosh.

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