ABC News takes a critical look at Obama’s new ad, “Dignity”, and sees a reversal on Bill Clinton’s welfare reform program. While Obama takes credit for moving people off of the welfare rolls and into jobs, he sang a different tune in 1997 while in the Illinois state legislature. Rather than support Clinton, he called the president “disturbing” and opposed the initiative:
Barack Obama aligned himself with welfare reform on Monday, launching a television ad which touts the way the overhaul “slashed the rolls by 80 percent.” Obama leaves out, however, that he was against the 1996 federal legislation which precipitated the caseload reduction.
“I am not a defender of the status quo with respect to welfare,” Obama said on the floor of the Illinois state Senate on May 31, 1997. “Having said that, I probably would not have supported the federal legislation, because I think it had some problems.”
Obama’s transformation from opponent to champion of welfare reform is the latest in a series of moves to the center. Since capturing the Democratic nomination, Obama has altered his stances on Social Security taxes, meeting with rogue leaders without preconditions, and the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.’s, sweeping gun ban.
As ABC notes, Obama spent most of the last 18 months dodging questions about welfare reform. He would only say that “Bill Clinton isn’t on the ballot,” and refusing to say whether he supported the Republican-driven welfare reform program of 1996. The program’s success showed in the move of millions off of welfare and into jobs, while keeping unemployment low.
This isn’t as egregious as most of the reversals Obama has made in this campaign. After all, McCain reversed himself on the Bush tax cuts for good reason: they worked. So did welfare reform, and Obama could make exactly the same case. However, instead of treating it honestly, Obama wants to lie and pretend that he was for Bill Clinton’s welfare reform all along instead of just admitting he called that one wrong as a rookie legislator.