President Barack Obama's campaign fired back against GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's welfare attack against the Obama administration in a new television ad released on Friday.
The ad, titled "Blatant," takes aim at the Romney campaign for falsely accusing the president of "gutting" welfare reform. Earlier this week, the Romney campaign issued an ad stating that the Obama administration was implementing a welfare policy that would drop work requirements.
Immediately after its release, the Romney campaign ad's accuracy was disputed by numerous media outlets, which the Obama campaign is now highlighting in its new spot.
"The New York Times calls it 'blatantly false,' says the narrator, referring to Romney's ad. "The Washington Post says 'the Obama administration is not removing the bill’s work requirements at all.'"
The commercial will air in battleground states Colorado, Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
But despite the backlash, Romney continued to assail Obama over welfare during numerous campaign events, while his surrogates, such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, joined conference calls to support the charge. But Gingrich, who oversaw welfare reform when he was house speaker, admitted Wednesday that there was "no proof" that the Obama administration dropped work requirements from the nation's welfare law.
Former President Bill Clinton also criticized the Romney ad, which used his signage of welfare reform legislation in 1996 to draw a contrast to Obama's current policy. "The Romney ad is especially disappointing because, as governor of Massachusetts, he requested changes in the welfare reform laws that could have eliminated time limits altogether," Clinton wrote in a statement, adding that the Romney ad is simply "not true."
The misleading nature of attack ads on both sides has been a focal point of the presidential race this week, after pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action also put out an ad that was interpreted as drawing a link between Romney's time at Bain Capital and a woman's cancer-related death. Romney responded by placing blame not on the super PAC, an outside group, but on the Obama campaign for not taking a stronger stance on misleading lines of attack.
"You know, in the past, when people pointed out that something was inaccurate, why, campaigns pulled the ad, they were embarrassed," Romney said in a radio interview with Bill Bennett. "Today, they just blast ahead. You know, the various fact-checkers look at some of these charges in the Obama ads and they say that they’re wrong, and inaccurate, and yet he just keeps on running them."
But it was difficult for Romney's harsh words to resonate in the midst of his own campaign refusing to back down from its welfare attack, debunked by the very same fact-checkers he mentioned.