CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Driving home their claim that President Obama is gutting welfare reform, Republicans are putting out a video Wednesday that features a North Carolina man who needed welfare between jobs – and now criticizes Obama’s plan to overhaul the program’s work requirements.
“I don’t know what I would have done without it,” 46-year-old Chuck Painter tells the camera. “I did everything I could to try to get off welfare.” But he says the work requirement is critical.
The video campaign is the latest effort by Republicans to hammer away at Obama’s announcement to governors in July that the federal government would waive, in certain circumstances, work requirement standards tied to welfare if states come up with their own plan.
“What I see is, by not requiring people to work, there’s no motivation to get off the system,” says Painter, who says he went on welfare for roughly nine months in October 2009 after being told his job had been eliminated – just days after his 20th anniversary with the company.
The Obama administration has argued the president’s memo was intended to provide more flexibility to states.
The Republican National Committee and the Romney for President campaign will hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon promoting the video and highlighting Obama’s plan, on the perimeter of the Democratic National Convention grounds in Charlotte.
“This president prefers to have people dependent on the government as opposed to giving them a hand to get back to work,” committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. “Under his watch, the work requirement in welfare is being gutted, holding back the prosperity of so many who are scraping to get by."
The event is at the NASCAR Plaza and is scheduled to include Oklahoma GOP Gov. Mary Fallin and South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley.
On Tuesday, former Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell signaled that Republicans’ open concerns about welfare are sinking in with voters.
“It’s starting to resonate. It’s starting to affect blue-collar white voters,” he told the Maryland delegation at a convention-related breakfast, according to the website Buzzfeed. Democrats, though, claim the Romney campaign is exaggerating what Obama’s changes actually do.