by Chas Danner

Beyond today's Priorities USA ad, the Romney campaign decided to rehash the Clinton years by bringing up welfare reform and claiming Obama has been gutting it:

Ed Kilgore is pissed:

[I]t’s no mystery why the Romney campaign and its supporters are pursuing this dishonest and deeply hypocritical tack. In a "memorandum" released to support the new ad’s claims, Romney campaign policy director Lanhee Chan accuses Obama of inflicting "a kick in the gut to the millions of hard-working middle-class taxpayers struggling in today’s economy, working more for less but always preferring self-sufficiency to a government handout." It’s the old welfare-queen meme, which Republicans have already been regularly reviving in their attacks on the Affordable Care Act, on Medicaid, on food stamps, and in their much broader and horrifyingly invidious claims that poor and minority people deliberately taking out mortgages they knew they couldn’t afford caused the whole housing market collapse and the financial crisis that followed.

Dylan Mathews talked to Ron Haskins, an author of the original reform who is quoted in the Romney campaign's memo:

Waivers are what made welfare reform possible in the first place, [Haskins] argues, by letting states experiment with new practices and they can be useful going forward. For instance, he thinks they might offer a way around limitations that prevent welfare checks from going to employers to subsidize the hiring of welfare recipients, rather than to the recipients directly. Such combined welfare-work programs, Haskins believes, hold a lot of promise. "What this really boils down to is an issue of trust," he concludes. "Do you trust that the secretary of HHS is only going to grant waivers that really are promising? … Maybe I’m naïve, but I just don’t come to the conclusion that the Democrats would really use the waiver to undermine welfare reform."

Drum calls the ad a "shameless distortion" turned into an "outright falsehood":

There's no Obama plan in the first place, there's certainly no plan to "drop" work requirements, and Sebelius has been crystal clear that the only waivers that will even be considered are ones that measurably increase the transition from welfare to work.

Buzzfeed put together a video timeline of the evolution of Obama's welfare opinion. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is pushing the president's shiny new "Romney Hood" line, which is surely a preview of ads to come, as well as releasing a web ad comparing tax plans with people on the street:

The Romney campaign, by the way, has responded to "Romney Hood" with "Obamaloney." In outside spending news, the Koch-funded Super PAC Americans For Prosperity has a new ad out hitting Obama on the economy. It will air in ten states as part of a $27 million multimedia ad buy:

Downticket Democrats might hate Super PACs, but Tim Dickinson lets us know why broadcasters are in love with outside spenders:

While TV stations are required by law to offer discounted airtime to politicians, Super PACs have to pay market rates. With these outside groups expected to buy more than half the ads benefiting the Romney campaign, the increased competition to place ads in battleground states only serves to drive up the price. In a key market like Columbus, Ohio, where campaign spots are already airing at a record pace, the ad buys are expected to exceed the haul from 2008, when political ads made up half of all TV spots purchased during the final week of the election.

In essence, broadcasters are now profiteering from a vicious circle of corruption: Politicians are beholden to big donors because campaigns are so expensive, and campaigns are so expensive because they're fought through television ads. The more cash that chases limited airtime, the more the ads will cost, and the more politicians must lean on deep-pocketed patrons. In short, the dirtier the system, the better for the bottom line at TV stations and cable systems. According to an analysis by Moody's, political ads are expected to account for as much as seven cents of every dollar broadcasters earn over the full two-year election cycle for 2012.

Dickinson also notes that the new semi-functional FCC website will exclude at least 40% of ad spending data when it occurs in smaller broadcast markets. Lastly, the National Organization for Marriage takes a "traditional family" filled victory lap over Chick-Fil-A's appreciation day:

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