After the Romney campaign used television spots to accuse the Obama administration of softening work requirements in federal welfare law, the White House pointed out that many state governors—including Republicans Gary Herbert of Utah and Brian Sandoval of Nevada—had requested the kind of waivers Romney was criticizing.
The Sandoval administration did not actually ask for waivers but did seek a discussion of them with federal officials.
Gov. Herbert didn’t offer Romney much support, simply reinforcing his previous stand that the federal work requirements “do not lead to meaningful employment outcomes” and abridge state authority. Gov. Sandoval’s office did try to give Romney a lifeline, but bungled the attempt. Sandoval spokesperson Mary Sarah Kinner told Politico, “The Obama administration’s attempt to portray Nevada’s comments as anything more than an attempt to increase efficiency and improve outcomes for our programs is a gross mischaracterization to advance its own agenda.”
That wording led White House press secretary Jay Carney to agree that “any attempt to characterize this [Obama] policy as anything more than an attempt to increase efficiency and improve outcomes for our programs is a gross mischaracterization.”
An effort by Team Nevada spokesperson Darren Littell fared little better, because it included the phrase “Obama’s attack on welfare.” Team Nevada is the shadow Nevada Republican Party organization set up after the takeover of the regular organization by Ron Paul backers.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported changes in the welfare law similar to those he now denounces.