The White House offered a blistering response today to Mitt Romney's allegation that President Obama took the work requirement out of welfare, calling it "categorically false" and "blatantly dishonest."
In a new campaign ad and in person today Romney accused the president of gutting welfare requirements and encouraging a "culture of dependency."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the attacks are "particularly outrageous" because Romney supported policies in the past that would have "allowed people to stay on welfare forever."
"It seems to be the case these days that - with charges like this, that hypocrisy knows no bounds," he said. "Governor Romney joined with 28 other Republican governors in support of policies that would have eliminated the time limits in the law and allowed people to stay on welfare forever. So perhaps his argument is with his past self, and I suppose that should not be a surprise."
Carney also underscored that the new waiver policy was requested by two Republican governors, Governor Herbert of Utah and Governor Sandoval of Nevada, both of whom are Romney supporters. "I don't think, if you ask them - and I suggest you do - that they believe that their interest in these waivers was guided by a desire to undermine work requirements," he said.
The White House contends the administration changed the regulations last month to give states more flexibility.
"This administration's policy will strengthen the program by giving states the opportunity to employ more effective ways to help people get off welfare and into a job. Under this policy, governors must commit that their proposals will move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work. And as we have made very clear under our policy, any request from any state that undercuts the work requirement in welfare reform will be rejected," Carney said.