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'It's just completely false and I'm pretty stunned'

Sixteen years ago today, President Clinton signed his signature welfare-reform measure into law. Marking the occasion, the Romney campaign said in a statement this morning, "[D]on't expect President Obama to mark the occasion after just last month gutting the historic work requirements."

They are, of course, lying -- Obama didn't gut the work requirements. As even the Romney campaign knows, governors asked the Obama administration for some flexibility on the existing welfare law, and the White House said that'd be fine, so long as the work requirement isn't weakened. It's consistent with the policy endorsed by many Republican governors, including Romney himself, just six years ago.

What I find interesting, however, is the number of people who are picking up on Romney's shameless attempt to deceive the public. Consider these comments from Joe Scarborough yesterday:

"I've been looking for a week-and-a-half to try to figure out the basis of this welfare reform ad," Scarborough said, concluding that that the attack is "just completely false, and I'm pretty stunned."

The Associated Press this morning ran a news piece on the racially-charged smear, calling the attack "factually inaccurate," noting the campaign can't "back up" the attack, and explaining that Romney is "distorting the facts."

But Romney just doesn't give a damn. He's put out five videos repeating the attack -- three for broadcast, two for the web -- in just two weeks, and his campaign repeated the same obvious falsehood again this morning, effectively taunting reality. "Yep, I'm deliberately and repeatedly lying to the public," Romney seems to be saying . "What are you going to do about it?"

As we discussed yesterday, Romney is testing American politics, pushing past boundaries and traditional norms, raising uncomfortable questions about just what kind of man he really is.