By Michelle Bauman
Washington D.C.(EWTN News/CNA): A Catholic
social justice lobby that describes itself as “a progressive
voice within the Catholic community” is asking Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney to spend a day with those who
serve the poor, but it will not be extending a similar
invitation to President Obama.
Recent advertisements by Romney’s campaign in
support of work requirements for welfare benefits show that he
is “out of touch with the very difficult struggles of
working-poor families,” said Network communications coordinator
Stephanie Niedringhaus, explaining the reason for the group's
told EWTN News, the organization is not issuing a similar
invitation to President Obama, despite recent statements from
his campaign indicating that he also supports a work requirement
8, Network issued a press release inviting Romney to “spend a
day with Catholic Sisters who work every day to meet the needs
of struggling families in their communities.”
Niedringhaus said that the offer extended to
Romney was a specific response to “the ad he endorsed regarding
campaign released two advertisements on welfare in the days
preceding the press release.
The first ad explained that “work for welfare”
was part of a bipartisan welfare reform effort signed by
President Bill Clinton. It cited concerns that without such
requirements, recipients of welfare could receive federal
funding indefinitely without working or training for a job.
The second ad expanded on the first, showing
footage of Democrats who supported the bill, including former
President Bill Clinton, who described is as a way to help people
“stop drawing a welfare check and start drawing a paycheck,” and
U.S. Senator John Kerry, who called the legislation “an
ads accused Obama of taking actions that weakened the work
requirement in the welfare system.
Neither of the ads included statements by Romney
on welfare, nor did they include any speculation on the motives
of people who apply for welfare.
But Niedringhaus said that the ads show that Romney thinks
“people are poor because they are lazy, unwilling to work.”
Responding to the advertisements, White House
press secretary Jay Carney said on August 9 that the president
is actually attempting to strengthen work requirements for
In addition, a
post on the White House blog insisted that “no one wants to
waive or dismantle the work requirement” in the welfare system,
but rather, that the Obama administration is seeking to
“maintain a strong work requirement.”
Furthermore, Vice President Joe Biden was shown
in one of the ads as supporting work requirements for welfare
when the original law was passed during his time in the Senate.
However, Niedringhaus said that Network has no
plans to extend a similar invitation to President Obama or Vice
to respond to the White House blog post indicating that Obama
shares Romney’s support for work requirements, she responded,
“The issue is that the ad was wrong,” adding that it was
“dishonest” about Obama’s record.
Unemployment rates under the Obama administration
have consistently remained above eight percent, and a Census
Bureau report last year revealed that the number of Americans
living in poverty was the highest it had been in more than half
acknowledged that Network is “concerned about unemployment and
However, she stated, the Obama administration’s policies “do
more to help people rise out of poverty” than the alternatives
endorsed by Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.