Flashback: Obama praised welfare work requirements his administration just gutted

posted at 4:01 pm on July 20, 2012 by Rob Bluey

During his run for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama praised the work requirements that were the centerpiece of welfare reform — the very requirements his administration just gutted last week.

During a discussion with pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church, Obama declared: “[O]ne of the things that I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to work as a centerpiece of any social policy.” Video of the exchange:

Obama’s administration last Thursday gutted the work requirements that were part of reforms to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in 1996. The welfare reform law became a signature accomplishment for President Bill Clinton and the Republican-led Congress. Now, a new directive from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) claims for the secretary the authority to waive TANF work requirements, the heart of the successful 1996 reforms. In the past, the lack of tough federal work requirements has allowed activities such as bed rest, smoking cessation and exercise to be counted as work.

Ironically, Rev. Warren’s question to Obama in 2008 centered on a position Obama once held that he no longer supported. Obama picked welfare reform, explaining that as a state lawmaker in Illinois he was skeptical of Clinton’s action in 1996.

Now, it seems, Obama has flip-flopped once again.

Here’s the transcript of Warren’s exchange with Obama on Aug. 16, 2008:

WARREN: What’s the most significant position you held ten years ago that you no longer hold today, that you flipped on, you changed on, because you actually see it differently?

OBAMA: Because I actually changed my mind.

WARREN: You changed your mind. Exactly.

OBAMA: Well, you know, I — I’m trying to think back ten years ago. I think that a good example would be the issue of welfare reform, where I always believed that welfare had to be changed. I was much more concerned ten years ago when President Clinton initially signed the bill that this could have disastrous results. I worked in the Illinois legislature to make sure that we were providing child care and health care, other support services for the women who were going to be kicked off the roles after a certain time.

It had — it worked better than, I think, a lot of people anticipated. And, you know, one of the things that I am absolutely convinced of is that we have to work as a centerpiece of any social policy.

WARREN: OK.

OBAMA: Not only because — not only because ultimately people who work are going to get more income, but the intrinsic dignity of work, the sense of purpose.

WARREN: We were made for work.

OBAMA: We were made for work, and the sense that you are part of a community, because you’re making a contribution, no matter how small to the well-being of the country as a whole. I think that is something that Democrats generally, I think, have made a significant shift on.

Apparently, however, Democrats like Obama have not made that big of a shift.

The Obama administration’s action last week amounts to the end of welfare reform as we know it, according to The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley. The HHS action was also illegal, drawing the wrath of lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would prohibit the administration from enforcing its new policy.

Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey


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“Romney will say anything to win” — Obama

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:03 PM

…and Obama said that while Mitt quoted Obama’s lies.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:03 PM

“You lie” was the truest thing ever told about Obama.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:04 PM

What ? Obama lied?
and then lied about lying?
I’m shocked ;-) shocked I tell ya

burrata on July 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

He looks like an oaf in that video still…

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

“You lie” was the truest thing ever told about Obama.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Isn’t that the truth. I think he has told so many lies – he can’t keep them all straight and that is when you get “you didn’t build it” lines.

gophergirl on July 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Why the flip-flop, Mr. President?

Because Mr.Otax’s policies failed on creating a strong economy..

Electrongod on July 20, 2012 at 4:08 PM

that is when you get “you didn’t build it” lines.

gophergirl on July 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

That was not a gaffe. It’s one of his Utopian wet dreams, to fool enough fools to believe that he and the gov’t are the “from diapers to Depends” do-gooders.

I don’t believe a thing he says. He is the biggest thug and charlatan all in one, ever.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

…JugEars with all due repect…is truly a P O S !!!!

KOOLAID2 on July 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Etch-A-Sketch in Chief!!!

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

President Pant Load…

Seven Percent Solution on July 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

It is easier to buy votes without the work requirement.

derecho on July 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

I just noticed Obama has a “tell” when he’s lying. His lips are moving.

The Rogue Tomato on July 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Hoodini and

RobbingHood, all in one.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Because Mr.Otax’s policies failed on creating a strong economy..

Electrongod on July 20, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Yep. After all, Steny Hoyer said food stamps and unemployment are the best stimulus to the economy. Work must be a drag on the economy. Let’s not require it for welfare bennies.

Bitter Clinger on July 20, 2012 at 4:11 PM

This is your president Ameica.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:13 PM

The HHS action was also illegal, drawing the wrath of lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would prohibit the administration from enforcing its new policy.

I get it. It’s illegal which means it breaks the law but instead of prosecuting the lawbreakers(I guess that only happens to us peons) they pass a law to stop the illegal action. Makes sense to me.

yhxqqsn on July 20, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Another nice catch.
Another entry on the list of Obama’s lies.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 20, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Your president, America, pity

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

A tacitcal political move: in 2008, the Middle Class still outnumbered voters who were on government assistance.

But after 3.5 years of his economic “stewardship,” those numbers are reversing.

Obama is appealing to the “New Poor,” because he’s the one who caused their plight.

http://piqscore.com/2012/06/the-easter-bunny-the-tooth-fairy-santa-claus-and-your-rich-uncle-uncle-sam/

VastRightWingConspirator on July 20, 2012 at 4:17 PM

If you don’t have to look for work, then you won’t be counted on the BLS rolls. I think it’s a cynical ploy to drive down the U-3 numbers to make him look good for the election. You would here nothing but “unemployment numbers going down” for the next 3 months from the lap dog media.

Red Creek on July 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM

The HHS action was also illegal, drawing the wrath of lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would prohibit the administration from enforcing its new policy.

Now I don’t know all the details of this story but this line confuses me. How will making another law prevent the implementation of a policy that was already illegal? Isn’t the first law enough to prevent implementation? If the original law wasn’t good enough, then why would the second one be any better?

Goldenavatar on July 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM

He isn’t lying. His position on buying votes is ‘evolving’.

MikeinPRCA on July 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM

During his run for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama praised the work requirements that were the centerpiece of welfare reform

Hey in 2008, he even pretended to be an American patriot and a Christian,
ofcourse only the stupid low IQ people believed him then !

burrata on July 20, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Tommy Thompson, former gov. of WI, who’s now running for the senate, said he’d sue the HHS over this.

Schadenfreude on July 20, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Liberals always have to lie about what they intend to do or they would never get elected.

NeoKong on July 20, 2012 at 4:25 PM

The HHS action was also illegal, drawing the wrath of lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would prohibit the administration from enforcing its new policy.

Now I don’t know all the details of this story but this line confuses me. How will making another law prevent the implementation of a policy that was already illegal? Isn’t the first law enough to prevent implementation? If the original law wasn’t good enough, then why would the second one be any better?

Goldenavatar on July 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Indeed. First off, he’ll never sign the second legislation into law. Second, why not go to the 3rd branch of the federal government (the judiciary) to break the impasse over the first law?

Bitter Clinger on July 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

OTax sure hasn’t aged well since 2008.

Electrongod on July 20, 2012 at 4:30 PM

More Ocommie flip-flop–

as another tree falls in the woods………….

FlaMurph on July 20, 2012 at 4:45 PM

More evolomution (TM) back to his positions of the mid 90s.

Obama said he hated the welfare reform signed by Billy Jeff because it hit “his people” the worst and unfairly.

There is no evolving for 0bama, merely we are finding out what he has always believed.

jukin3 on July 20, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Nice get, Rob Bluey!
I had a tiny remembrance of Obama having said all this about work and welfare, but couldn’t place it.
I thought it was during the campaign in 2008…
Thank you for relieving my brain fog.

marybel on July 20, 2012 at 5:01 PM

There was no flip-flop.

Obama was always against the Welfare Work requirement. He just lied to Warren’s face to appear more mainstream and to conceal his radical beliefs.

OxyCon on July 20, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Obama’s administration last Thursday gutted the work requirements that were part of reforms to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in 1996.

Except states still have to ensure that recipients are getting jobs! The only change is that if States think they can do a better job of that, they don’t have to comply with crazy federal requirements that create a bureaucratic nightmare.

The HHS action was also illegal, drawing the wrath of lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would prohibit the administration from enforcing its new policy.

The Heritage writers did some hasty legal analysis. They forgot to look up the section that gives the HHS secretary the power to issue waivers. Whoops!

red_herring on July 20, 2012 at 5:37 PM

red_herring on July 20, 2012 at 5:37 PM

What is the subject of this thread…..I know just too easy to ignore.

CW on July 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

OBAMA: We were made for work, and the sense that you are part of a community, because you’re making a contribution, no matter how small to the well-being of the country as a whole. I think that is something that Democrats generally, I think, have made a significant shift on.

For the mentally deranged. You know who you are.

CW on July 20, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Obama’s way of getting back at Bill Clinton – Barry undoes the accomplishment that Bill Clinton prided himself on…(after it was passed…)

albill on July 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Another gift wrapped present for Team Romney to open and make an effective ad, but noooo. We can’t lose the white trash vote!

Decoski on July 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Rick Warren should stick to preaching his beliefs and stop being a tool of either party.

Just imagine if McCain had been willing to take the gloves off and make history by having the first Female Vice President in history instead of the first Mulatto President in History.

McCain……….UGH……..one of the most despicable politicians out there.

PappyD61 on July 20, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Just curious……did Rick Warren ask him why he supported/fought hard (Born Alive Infant Protection Act) to defend letting babies that survived botched abortions die in Illinois instead of receive medical care?

……if Warren did not (and I’m guessing he didn’t) then he is just a player/tool of the ruling class like the rest of the preachers that troll through D.C. political circles.

PappyD61 on July 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM

He’s an ass!

MCGIRV on July 21, 2012 at 1:30 AM