New Romney web spot focuses on welfare success story

posted at 10:41 am on August 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The latest in the Team Romney attack on Barack Obama’s executive order on welfare features an inspirational story … and a bit of a conundrum.  Daniel Vargas grew up on welfare in Brooklyn, the son of divorced immigrants from Puerto Rico, living with a mother who could not read or write English well enough to hold a job.  Vargas transcended his humble origins to become a business executive and community leader, and he saw the cycle of dependency all too well from his own eyes:

“President Obama is stripping the work requirement out of welfare. I think the problem with that is there’s been so many success stories since the welfare reform of the 90s.  Where families that might otherwise have stayed stuck in that cycle of dependency that they actually saw a light at the end of the tunnel. They saw a different possibility. Taking it away brings us back to that situation. The unintended consequences of a well-meaning program of the 1960s was that families ended up getting stuck in that cycle of dependency.

“We just celebrated our anniversary recently. I got two great boys. I’ve been able to create a successful business, I’ve been an executive and I’ve been able to have an impact in my community locally. Only in America can that happen in one generation. And who knows what my children or their children will be able to achieve. And I know that if you’re born in the favelas outside of Rio or the shantytowns outside of Caracas—if that’s where you’re born typically that’s where you stay. There isn’t a whole lot of hope and opportunity to be able to get out of that environment. Here, the outcome may not be guaranteed, but the opportunity is.”

From the pictures and the biography provided, though, Vargas clearly grew up before the 1996 bipartisan welfare reform act that Obama’s EO weakened, and weakened unilaterally.  People can point to Vargas himself and say, “If he can succeed without the welfare reform of the 1990s, why can’t others?”  That’s the problem with arguing by anecdote rather than data, which in this case favors the Republican argument — and which is why Obama has been insisting that he hasn’t done anything to damage the future success of that reform.

This is a web-only ad, and probably one in a series.  Perhaps the Romney team should find people who lived through that reform who can share personal stories of how the reform moved them from recipients of welfare to productive workers, and how that made them feel about themselves.  Vargas’ story, while powerful and inspirational, may be better in a broader context than welfare reform.


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Strong, positive message!

ProfShadow on August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

I’m not going to watch it. Why would I? It’s a web ad, no on else will, either.

lorien1973 on August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

ATTACK!

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Don’t think its much of a problem if the guys parents worked.

Zaggs on August 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

People who get welfare would live better lives if they put forth effort.

In other news, the sun unexpectedly rose in the east this morning, and this summer has been warmer than last Winter.

Wino on August 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Eh, Vargas is a white-hispanic so his story just isn’t authentic. Fail.

TFGRP 2012

Bishop on August 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Smart ads, reach out to many people without a lot of expense…but it creates the branding.

right2bright on August 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM

2016: Obama’s America is an excellent movie, and the fundraising numbers are showing that the vetting that this movie does (and also via other non-traditional media sources)is finally being accomplished. It’s nice to see that Americans are now “down-sizing” Obama, instead of the reverse.

The movie features Obama’s anti-colonialist attitudes, which seemingly colors ALL his foreign policy tactics. It also highlights his close relation ship with American Communist Party member Frank Davis (not a composite mentor, though Obama tries to obscure his identity in the “autobiographies”.

The movie also shows an interview with George Obama, whose appreciation for the benefits of capitalism and inherent sense of self-responsibility and dignity are in stark contrast with his half-brother.

Mutnodjmet on August 21, 2012 at 10:55 AM

These ads hit the news cycle and filter through social networks. That’s what they are intended for, and also test concepts. Priorities cancer ad aired once of TV, but was show on every cable network multiple times.

With that said, it’s a great ad.

rubberneck on August 21, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Poverty and welfare can breed a way of life. What Dad did I will do. But at least working can show that if you keep on keepin’ on good things can happen. Opportunity is the great difference.

Herb on August 21, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Fantastic!

Rational Thought on August 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM

It’s a good ad. I want to vote for Romney/Ryan, not just against Obama.

aryeung on August 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I think the intention with the welfare ads is to peg O as a liberal statist, and so these welfare ads may have their place.
This particular web ad seems almost cerebral, not that there’s anything always wrong with that, except it fails to get your attention, and beyond the minute mark you have to force yourself to keep watching it. Welfare seems like yesterday’s issue, to me, but again, maybe these ads serve a purpose. Yet don’t underemphasize Medicare / Obamacare, especially now when we would benefit greatly by decisively and quickly winning the Medicare Battle.
And Nate Silver is talking about a poll showing RR with a 15 point lead in FL! Probably an outlier, but possibly an indication that RR’s “O cut $716B from Medicare” ad is causing seniors to move to Romney en masse. Run that Medicare ad nationally! It is that good. Help change the national numbers, and the national conservation, which will then affect swing state numbers. Get it running all over the place.

anotherJoe on August 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Now that’s the American Dream, right there.

Meryl Yourish on August 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Very nicely done.

However, I know the Liberals will jump on the Air Force pics and claim that government made his success.

watson007 on August 21, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Ed,

I don’t agree that the timeline makes this ad problematic. This is a story of a man breaking out from the cycle of dependence in the “old” welfare system. It’s a pointed critique that going back to the old ways of doing welfare is just not acceptable. Perhaps he could have made a stronger argument that the new workfare system would have better served his mother’s interests in encouraging her to learn skills, but he clearly demonstrates that all welfare did for his mother was trap her in a cycle of dependence leaving her and her children in a rat-infested, broken down apartment in Brooklyn with no hope….

Run with it America’s Comeback Team, run with it!!!!

powerpickle on August 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM

5 mins for Kira Davis in Tampa, 5 mins for Mr. Vargas…real minorities with the right priorities being successful..demonstrate to their minority peers it is OK to come off the dole and restore pride back to your family name…

hillsoftx on August 21, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Eh, Vargas is a white-hispanic so his story just isn’t authentic. Fail.

TFGRP 2012

Bishop on August 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

^#*$&%^@*! Trolls!

The War Planner on August 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM

I’m not going to watch it. Why would I? It’s a web ad, no on else will, either.

lorien1973 on August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

I’ll assume you haven’t seen the proof that refutes that claim, even though I’ve posted it for gumbyandpokey who makes the same claim every time there’s a new web ad released.

Some 74% of internet users–representing 55% of the entire adult population–went online in 2008 to get involved in the political process or to get news and information about the election. This marks the first time that a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey has found that more than half of the voting-age population used the internet to get involved in the political process during an election year.

Several online activities rose to prominence in 2008. In particular, Americans were eager to share their views on the race with others and to take part in the online debate on social media sites such as blogs and social networking sites. Among the key findings of our survey:

Nearly one in five (18%) internet users posted their thoughts, comments or questions about the campaign on an online forum such as a blog or social networking site.

Fully 45% of internet users went online to watch a video related to the campaign.

One in three internet users forwarded political content to others. Indeed, the sharing of political content (whether writing and commentary or audio and video clips) increased notably over the course of the 2008 election cycle. While young adults led the way in many political activities, seniors were highly engaged in forwarding political content to their friends and family members.

Young voters continued to engage heavily in the political debate on social networking sites. Fully 83% of those age 18-24 have a social networking profile, and two-thirds of young profile owners took part in some form of political activity on these sites in 2008.

The relative importance of the internet also continued to grow within the overall political media ecosystem. Among the entire population (internet users and non-users alike) the internet is now equal to newspapers and roughly twice as important as radio as a source of election news and information. Among internet users and young adults, these differences are even more magnified.

The Internet’s Role in Campaign 2008

Google’s Public Sector Blog recently covered an interesting case that provides a rare glimpse into the absolute effects of online advertising for persuasion in political campaigns and advocacy efforts. Typically, the waters are muddied, as campaigns leverage both traditional and interactive methods, making it impossible for one to conclude which efforts were really responsible for a bump in poll numbers or a victory. However, the RESOLVE campaign only used online advertising, allowing us to see the results from solely online efforts.

The campaign was targeted at families dealing with infertility in the Washington, D.C. area. The results demonstrate a solid spike in awareness from the campaign.

Study Shows Online Advertising Impacts Poll Numbers

Flora Duh on August 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM

I like it. I think getting these made, shown, and now in their quiver is very smart.
Should any upcoming days happen to spotlight the ILLEGAL act that Zero performed, here .. boom.. this is ready.
Keep it up, guys !

pambi on August 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I’m not going to watch it. Why would I? It’s a web ad, no on else will, either.

lorien1973 on August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Or..You could post it on your Facebook page for people to see. Its called sending the message viral.

Gadsden

GadsdenRattlers on August 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Star Parker would be a good candidate for one of those ads.

sandspur on August 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Good ad but it’s the tag line at the end “Believe in America” that touched me. I think it’s because, after wondering in the parched desert of Obamerica for almost four years, we actually have a choice to vote for a team that holds that notion deep in their hearts.
I never stopped believing, Mitt. Please don’t prove me a fool for believing in you as well.

swinia sutki on August 21, 2012 at 11:34 AM

One complaint:

It was a great ad, but one of the last blurbs says

“Work will Jumpstart America, not Government.”

That doesn’t read well – it can be read in more than one way, with more than one meaning – and should be changed.

AubieJon on August 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Good ad but it’s the tag line at the end “Believe in America” that touched me. I think it’s because, after wandering in the parched desert of Obamerica for almost four years, we actually have a choice to vote for a team that holds that notion deep in their hearts.
I never stopped believing, Mitt. Please don’t prove me a fool for believing in you as well.

swinia sutki on August 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I worked on a long installation project on the road in Boston with a young Haitian guy from NYC. His parents came here when he was a kid I think. Mom works at a methadone clinic an Dad drives a cab. He did good work, so he always had plenty of hours. By the end of the project he went and bought a nice Benz coupe’ with a big motor in it – cash. He was probably sending some money back to Brooklyn too, but I never asked. God only knows what would have happened to him if they had stayed in Haiti.

forest on August 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM

I like it! I used to work with a man with a very similar story. Raised in a poor family living in the ghetto (his word not mine) somewhere in Florida. He was very conservative. Basically believed if he had to work so hard for everything why was it right for someone else to come get a piece of his work. Loved that man! Used to talk politics with him on a daily basis.

maables on August 21, 2012 at 12:00 PM

I’m not going to watch it. Why would I? It’s a web ad, no on else will, either.

lorien1973 on August 21, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Or..You could post it on your Facebook page for people to see. Its called sending the message viral.

Gadsden

GadsdenRattlers on August 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Exactly, don’t know which generation that one is (if the figures in his moniker indicate his birth year, he’s not really a grandpa :), but most young people are more internauts than TV watchers, and they get most of their info from internet sources and yes, through facebook dissemination, twitter, etc..a lot of young people I know don’t even own a TV, as a deliberate decision that is…..I don’t know what the big deal lorien thinks is with the TV ads, nowadays people have Tivos or DVRs and skip the ads anyways..

jimver on August 21, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Good ad! I think Team Romney should also spend some air-time promoting all the successful companies that Bain Capital helped during Romney’s leadership. Highlight the companies that were able to keep their doors open, add capital, and created real and lasting jobs!

HoosierStateofMind on August 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Romney team could use Star Parker . . .

williampeck1958 on August 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Ed, weren’t there some welfare reform moves during the Reagan era?

Star Parker would be a good candidate for one of those ads.

sandspur on August 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM

She sure would!

shaloma on August 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

“We just celebrated our anniversary recently. I got two great boys. I’ve been able to create a successful business, I’ve been an executive and I’ve been able to have an impact in my community locally.”

Sorry, bud. You didn’t build that. Someone else made that happen.

crazy_legs on August 21, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I loved this ad. It made me cry.

I worked in workforce development under the Workforce Investment Act. I have so many stories of people who benefited from being pushed to work. It helps them build a work history, it helps them get skills, and when they get their first real job they are so happy and thankful. Work = dignity. Some people have never worked and are afraid to take the first steps but when they do it helps them build confidence. They are proud of themselves and that is the greatest reward. Faith in yourself to take care of you and your family. If Obama cared about people he wouldn’t take work out of welfare.

magicbeans on August 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM