Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a campaign surrogate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, just accused President Obama of an "absolute contempt for the law and the Constitution" for allowing the federal Health and Human Services Department to offer waivers to the 1996 welfare reform law.
Santorum spoke on a conference call with reporters that wrapped up before we could ask the obvious question: Does a Republican governor who seeks such a waiver also show contempt for the law and the Constitution? We wondered because two Republican governors, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Gary Herbert of Utah, have expressed interest in the waivers. And Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, was one of 29 Republican governors who signed a letter to the U.S. Senate majority leader in 2005, asking for similar waivers.
This all stems from a new Romney campaign ad this week that accuses Obama of trying to "gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements" and "just send you your welfare check."
It was quickly pointed out by the Obama campaign that the welfare-to-work waivers would be available only to states that created programs that actually move at least 20 percent more people from welfare to work.
It didn't help Romney much that Newt Gingrich, another failed foe from the GOP presidential primary, admitted on CNN last night that there is no proof the Romney ad is accurate.
Santorum soldiered on this morning, taking credit for helping to draft the welfare reform law, calling it the "signature accomplishment of the Clinton Administration and the Republican Congress in the 1990s."
"It's absolute contempt for the law and the Constitution," Santorum said of Obama's moves on the welfare reform law. "They're going to weaken it. The question is how much and how quickly?"