‘I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.’ And by ‘individuals,’ Romney means ‘mothers.’
To understand this comment, you need to understand that there’s no such program as ‘welfare.’ There’s only ‘TANF’: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. And the key word there is ‘families.’ Welfare is not now, and never was, a program for poor people. It’s a program for poor mothers.
So what Mitt Romney was saying, in other words, was that he believes poor mothers should go out and get jobs rather than to stay home with their children. He believes that going out and getting a job gives mothers — and everyone else — ‘the dignity of work.’ And so, finally, he believes that staying home and taking care of children is not ‘work,’ and does not fulfill a ‘work requirement,’ and does not give poor mothers ‘the dignity of work.’ And he believes all of this strongly enough that, as governor of Massachusetts, he signed those beliefs into law.