Return of the Welfare Smear

Yesterday I talked about Romney doubling-down on the Jeep-Jobs-to-China fable, in the teeth of every known fact. Turns out that in the same state (Ohio) and elsewhere, Team Mitt’s just turned over the card table and defied the rules by resuming ads that repeat his campaign’s most infamous talking point, the Obama-Gutted-Welfare-Work-Requirements smear.

This particular pack o’ lies had mercifully faded from sight just after the Republican National Convention. But now it’s back with a vengeance, as HuffPost’s Sam Stein reports:

A Democratic media-tracking source said the spot is running in markets that include Cincinnati, Dayton, Parkersburg, Wheeling and Zanesville, in Ohio. It’s also running in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction in Colorado; Gainesville, Jacksonville, Panama City and Tampa in Florida; Davenport, Omaha, Ottumwa and Sioux City in Iowa; Rochester, N.Y.; Las Vegas; and Charlottesville and Roanoke in Virginia.

As newsworthy as the ad’s script is the way in which the Romney campaign released the new spot. There was no public pronouncement, at least not via email (the campaign did post the spot to its YouTube page). And it seems to fit a pattern. The campaign is throwing what it can against the wall in the election’s closing days. Any movement it creates among voters outweighs howls it may cause from the press corps, the campaign believes.

It fits a pattern, all right: just making stuff up to deceive voters and appeal to their worst impulses. Yeah, Moderate Mitt’s looking mighty presidential these days.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.