View co-host Joy Behar, who just last week defended Hilary Rosen's nasty attacks on Ann Romney, derided Mitt Romney on Monday, slamming his idea of welfare reform. Behar's comments caused the entire panel to erupt in a shouting match.
After showing the clip of Governor Romney, Behar thought she was summing up the former Massachusetts Governor’s views on the issue by mocking, “So you're poor, and on welfare, then you should go to work. If you're rich, then you can stay home. Is basically what he's saying.” That comment was immediately met with criticism from the rest of the panel. [Audio here, video after the jump]
Coming to Governor Romney’s defense was token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd. Hasselbeck mentioned that welfare reform was a bipartisan issue that was also taken up by former President Bill Clinton. Shepherd talked about the importance of helping people who collect welfare find work by saying, “When you're on welfare, it sometimes it can lead to complacency. If you're on there for a long time.”
It’s noble that Behar thinks she is defending stay-at-home-moms, after all, she did say, “But why not support women to stay home with the children?” It should be noted that just last week Behar defended Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney saying “whenever the wife of a politician, very few of them actually work for a living. And she’s talking about economic issues -- she's not the one who's putting bread on the table as millions of women are doing.”
I wonder what sort of hateful hypocritical statement Joy Behar will make tomorrow?
See the full transcript below:
11:07 AM EDT
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Now, you know what? Last week, Ann Romney said about being a stay-at-home mom, it's hard work which makes this January speech by her husband, Mitt Romney a little surprising. Take a look.
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: While I was Governor, 85% of the people on a form of welfare assistance in my state had no work requirement. And–And I wanted to increase the work requirement. I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work. And people said well that's heartless. And I said, no, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work.
JOY BEHAR: So you're poor, and on welfare, then you should go to work. If you're rich, then you can stay home. Is basically what he's saying.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: No. This is–First of all, let’s understand the context in which he’s saying.
BEHAR: What about being home with your children, being such a great thing unless you're on welfare, then it's not such a great thing.
SHERRI SHEPHERD: There’s a difference.
HASSELBECK: No, both are ok, is what we’re saying. Joy–This was part– this was actually part of a bipartisan effort of welfare reform headed up by Bill Clinton who signed into law in the 1990s. This is something that both parties are trying to do, trying to get women into a position where they can get work, earn money, have some sort of you know, sense of their own cash, not depend on somebody who may not be there. And also, what Mitt Romney is saying–
BEHAR: But I’m not saying–what about the children though?
HASSELBECK: What about extra money to go to child care, I mean we're always saying the cost of child care is so high. I think it's an incredible thing that he’s suggested.
BEHAR: So give them money to stay at home with their children?
HASSELBECK: Is this was headed up by Bill Clinton!
BARBARA WALTERS: Can I–Can I agree or follow up? It was indeed headed up by Bill Clinton. It was very controversial. In 1996, he signed, quote, The Personal Responsibilities And Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act that required recipients to begin working after two years of receiving benefits. And it placed–I want to make sure I’m accurate-- a life limit of five years on benefits paid by federal funds.
SHEPHERD: You know–It’s a continuation?
WALTERS: So what Romney is saying really–we can criticize him on other things, but this is almost the same thing that Bill Clinton signed
GOLDBERG: Ok. Can I just throw one thing out there? If people want to talk about helping women get back to work, women who may be in fact be on welfare, let us not characterize it as though they're welfare cheats. These are not people who are sitting around. There are people who do mess with the welfare system. But a lot of the people who are on welfare would like to be working–
GOLDBERG: They would like to be out there getting a job. And I think every time someone says–gives the impression that people on welfare aren't somehow– I mean, the phrase that he used, the dignity of work, it's so annoying.
BEHAR: It’s condescending.
HASSELBECK: I actually think that a woman doesn’t have to depend on some man to bring in money to her. If she’s in a position to make her own money then she would feel good about herself.
GOLDBERG: I’ll tell you why–because, because–We’re not depending on men. Let me tell you something, getting on welfare is one of the hardest things anybody has to do–
GOLDBERG: Because you know the stigma that you get for getting on it. So I don't think the government needs to make it any worse by making speeches about people's dignity in terms of working. That's just my opinion.
HASSELBECK: I hear you, I understand you.
WALTERS: So what–The whole idea is this, it was signed by Bill Clinton–
GOLDBERG: I know, I was there when he did it–
WALTERS: Could I just finish? I let you finish yours, let me–
WALTERS: The whole idea of it, said, was encourage two-parent families if that was possible and discourage out-of-wedlock births. Not that it doesn't happen, not that they should be condemned. But it was a way of saying we will support for you for two to five years and then after that, we hope you can find a job.
GOLDBERG and SHEPHERD: (inaudible)
HASSELBECK: I think that -- I do actually think that women in 17 years, the women's poverty rate is as highest its been now. We need to talk about it now.
SHEPHERD: No, I just think there’s a difference. Welfare was always meant to help people, you know do something and go farther. When you're on welfare, it sometimes it can lead to complacency. If you're on there for a long time. And I think you get a dignity–You don't have a dignity when you're on there for a long time not doing anything. So I absolutely support pushing women to go out there.
BEHAR: But why not support women to stay home with the children? Ann Romney did it cause she’s rich–
SHEPHERD: No because, you–It’s a difference when you have money–
SHEPHERD AND BEHAR: (inaudible, CROSSTALK)
GOLDBERG: I'm so sorry, we have to go. We have to much. We’ll be right back with more hot topics.