Spotlight Exclusives

Presidential Campaigns Shift Focus to Welfare Reform

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In an election season dominated by issues of job creation, the conversation has recently shifted to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, also known as welfare. This week, the Romney campaign released a TV ad asserting that President Obama is changing the bipartisan welfare reform law passed during the Clinton administration through guidance it has released thatseeks to encourage “states to consider new, more effective ways to meet the goals of TANF, particularly helping parents successfully prepare for, find and retain employment.” The ad contends that the new guidance will “gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


The ad has sparked an intense discussion among the media, advocates and bloggers. OOTS has compiled a number of these responses from authors encompassing a variety of views about the TANF program, the Obama administration proposal and the Romney campaign۪s claims.

·    Obama۪s Welfare Waiver Upsets the Political Right, But Will It End Work Rules for the Poor?, Associated Press

·    Editorial: Welfare Rhetoric and Reality, Los Angeles Times

·    Keep That Pay Raise, I Can۪t Afford It۪, Michael G. Franc, National Review Online

·    Obama۪s Gutting of Welfare Reform Is Illegal, Todd Gaziano and Robert Alt, The Heritage Foundation

·    Editorial: Mr. Romney Hits Bottom on Welfare,The New York Times

·    Arthur Brooks: Obama and ‘Earning Your Success’, The Wall Street Journal  

·    Greg Sargent: Romney Again Puts GOP Governors in Delicate Spot, The Washington Post

·    Romney Centers New Attack on 1996 Welfare Law, Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY

·    Charles M Blow: The Welfare Gambit, The New York Times

·    Clinton: Romney Welfare Ad Not True۪, Matt Vasilogambros, National Journal


For more information on TANF, Spotlight‘s Work Supports and Benefits Access section highlights key research that summarizes work requirements and rules for the program. As the election heats up, head to our Election 2012: Tracking the Candidates section for the latest candidate policy statements, news articles and quotes about poverty and opportunity.

Posted by Tamanna

Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn’t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

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