Romney opens new line of attack against Obama
September 20th, 2012
05:54 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney opens new line of attack against Obama

Sarasota, Florida (CNN) - GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney launched a new line of attack against President Barack Obama on Thursday, seizing on comments Obama made about change in Washington earlier in the day.

"The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside," Obama said Thursday afternoon at a presidential forum the candidate taped to run on the Spanish-language network Univision.

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Change was the theme of the candidate's 2008 campaign slogan, and he said at the Thursday forum that change from the outside was essential for his election and policy.

"That's how I got elected, and that's how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out," he said. "That's how we were able to cut taxes for middle-class families. So something that I'd really like to concentrate on in my second term, is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward."

Within hours, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had seized on the comments. Standing before a sign that declared he would "protect and strengthen" Medicare, Romney instead peppered his speech with references to Obama's comment.

"The president today threw in the white flag of surrender again. He said he can't change Washington from inside, he can only change it from outside," Romney thundered to an audience of several thousand in Sarasota. "Well, we're going to give him that chance in November. He's going outside!"

Romney said he "couldn't believe it" when he heard reports the "president of change" had said Washington needed to be changed from the outside.

"Isn't that amazing? No wonder he's had such a hard time over the last four years," Romney said. "His first two years he had a Democratic House, Democratic Senate, he got to do whatever the heck he wanted to, but he says he can't change it from the inside. Well, I will."

Obama's campaign responded to Romney's remarks on social media, tweeting quotes of prior Obama statements about change coming from outside of Washington.

"'This campaign can't only be about me. It must be about us-it must be about what we can do together.' -Barack Obama, 1/10/07," Obama's campaign account posted.

And another post: "'The change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the people demand it.' -Obama, 8/28/08."

The campaign also released a web video of comments Obama has made on the campaign trail this year - and to make their point that Romney was taking Obama out of context, the video takes comments of Romney out of context.

"America's role as leader in the world is a thing of the past," he is seen saying in one of the clips. It removes critical words from around that bite, as Romney regularly makes the opposite point in his stump speeches.

The Republican White House hopeful did take aim at Obama over Medicare, claiming $1.4 billion marked for Medicare recipients in Sarasota would be used to pay for the president's health care plan.

"What he has done to Medicare to pay for Obamacare is wrong," Romney said during the sunny, outdoor rally, where several elderly supporters had to be ushered out in the heat. "I will reverse it. I will save Medicare and protect it for our seniors of today and our seniors of tomorrow."

But at the end of his speech Romney returned again to his theme of the afternoon: "I will change Washington and I will do it from the inside when you elect me on Nov. 6."

– CNN's Kevin Liptak and Adam Aigner-Trewordy contributed to this report

Also see:

– Ryan gives House GOP a 'pep talk'

– Defending Romney, McCain cites 2008 campaign trail misspeak

– Romney to ramp up campaign schedule with bus tour

– Pawlenty takes post at Financial Services Roundtable

– Letterman: No hard feelings toward Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (423 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    And, suprise suprise, it's just as out of context and jsut as much of an intentional mischaracterization of what Obama was saying as the rest of Mittens' attacks have been.

    Put the campaign in it's casket, Mittens. You built it.

    September 20, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Tish NC

    Ready to vote Early to get rid Of this clown! So sick Of hearing his annoying Voice!

    September 20, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Marty, FL

    Romney is sadly so desperate that Mitt fails to realize he chose inside Washinton as his own running mate.

    Pres. Obama was acknowledging how we the people help him change Washington together. It is about us, Romney, not just you.

    September 20, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Me IN HOUSTON

    A new line of attack against Obama?
    really?
    Does anybody know what Romney's plans are?
    Has anybody seen specifics?
    If Romney want to make gains in the polls he should tell us how he intends to do what he wants to do

    September 20, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. kayla

    wishful thinking mr twitt. you sound so desperate

    September 20, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    "That's how I got elected, and that's how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out," he said....
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    No, he got health care done by a Reconciliation maneuver in The Senate. Political cajoling and horsetrading at the expense of the taxpayer and American healthcare consumer who's costs go up and quality of care goes down.

    But here is the other point. Aren't politicians supposed to be listening to Americans instead of Americans being "mobilized", or told what to do by politicians? Obama does not listen to Americans, especially when they said loud and clear in 2010 to cut federal spending. He has no plan or even capability to listen to Americans. He is too busy executing the far left liberal agenda and satisfying lobbyists.

    September 20, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Chelle

    Laugh or cry..... Mitt Romney considers himself a Washington outsider!!!!????? That is ludicrous. The man has been running for President for 8 years plus. Hardly an outsider.

    September 20, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Thomas

    9 minutes ago
    Romney opens new line of attack against Obama

    " Operation Barbarossa, "

    Romney said he "couldn't believe it" when he heard reports the "president of change" had said Washington needed to be changed from the outside.

    Another Romney Apples vs Oranges moment !

    Don't we elect politicians from our home states , outside of DC , send them to Washington , hope they do some good work before they become lobbyists ?

    Ohh , I understand , Romney is referring to Lobbyists like Newt and Pawlenty to change Washington from the inside !

    September 20, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. NameChi

    Romney,just stick to ur message and stop the tick for tack, thats why u r down in the polls u r all over the place!!!7

    September 20, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Paul Williamson

    The Washington government, particularly Congress is corrupt and will never pull together for the good of the American people. Congressman and Senators only kow-tow to some of the voters in their district and their rich donors, and are only interested in getting as rich as they csan so they can retire wealthy. The only way to change washington is from the outside, by voting most of the bums out of office.

    September 20, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. Allen Hussein

    That is all Willard has left is lies and taking things out of context. He can't tell us what his real plans are because he will lose the election and he has flipped and flopped so often, taking every convceivable position on every possible issue that who knows where he really stands.

    September 20, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Canuck

    In your dreams , Romney....

    September 20, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. PROUD FEMALE DEM IN NC

    Romney is no better than a snake oil salesman or a used car salesman. Can't trust him as far as you can throw him. He's a clueless loser. Obama 2012

    September 20, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Getoverit

    Funny, not a single article here on CNN about Obama's flip flop on the Libya attacks.....

    September 20, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Pete

    Romney the Latino wanne be is going after Pres.Obama on something else meaningless,like a blind dog chasing a taxi,what to do with it if he ever catches up is another plan!!Romneys been lost since day one,he's an out of touch wealthy elitist in a middleclass world..He doesn't communicate well to peasants,he doesn't speak Spanish or he doesn't know street language of Chicago does he,how can he relate!!His wife Ann in Costco,please she has her help find things for her she's too important for that,she's elite too!!Now you can read how his grandfather ran to Mexico to avoid persecution for polygamy,then years later hightailing it back stateside to avoid the Mexican Revolution, draftdodgers are historic in the Romney family tree.Then Romneys grandfather sues Mexico for being displaced and recieved just under $10,000 for what running back home and got welfare and a place stateside ta boot,that's how it all began back in the 20 th century for these Romneys,he won't tell ya how his family screwed the country in Mexico that helped them out how nice!!!And you want this misfit that can't or won't tell you his lineage,not proud,why not ,his family still has relatives in Mexico he's never met,now is that failed foriegn policy or what,get out of that Romney ya idiot!!

    September 20, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. tee1227

    This guy Mitt is so desperate,

    September 20, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. Bob

    "His first two years he had a Democratic House, Democratic Senate, he got to do whatever the heck he wanted to"

    Poor Mittens, always having to lie.

    September 20, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. PJ

    I'm worn out. This guy has no plan. Didn't he promise speeches on each of his 5 point plans just a couple of
    weeks ago? Where are these speeches?
    Nowhere. He has no plans, he just keeps bashing and trashing.
    They dredged up 14 year old comments made by Obama, after Romney was caught showing his
    true colors. Did he even think about the servers, and chefs, cleaning people, that could hear him, and how they
    must have felt? No.
    I can't keep up with this spoiled brat.
    I think he should consider living in an area where people are working hard, and still struggling. If he did
    that for a week, we might see a little bit of humanity from this wannabe.
    Re-tool and re-calibrate all you want Mitt, you just don't have what it takes.
    If you want to fly around in Air Force One and be pampered, just get on your own hairplane, and pretend.
    That's what you are, a pretender.

    September 20, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. i love haters

    If every American who is eligible to vote read "The Price of Politics"
    by Bob Woodward, it would be very clear to everyone that republicans prioritize
    their devotion to the Cult of Grover Norquist & Ayn Rand OVER THE
    CONTINUITY OF THE UNITES STATES OF AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our
    national debt is currently the greatest threat to the continuity of our nation
    & republicans in Congress had an opportunity in the summer of 2011 to reach
    a historic agreement that would have reduced our nation's crushing debt through
    a combination of federal spending cuts and federal income tax reform.
    Congressional republicans dug their feet in & refused to be any part of
    saving our nation's future on the basis that doing so REQUIRES an increase in
    at least some federal tax revenue....... Are republicans
    Anti-American? Read "The Price of Politics" & then you
    decide!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. scott

    The report from the Congressional Research Service found that the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps nearly doubled after Washington used the stimulus law to lift a key work requirement.

    September 20, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. John N. Seattle, WA

    Great job, Romney! You DO remember that you said THE EXACT OPPOSITE in 2007, right?

    September 20, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. TheVoice2

    Once again, no details.

    Mitt Phony's motto "make me President now, I'll give you details later"

    September 20, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Alger Dave

    Romney should be taking it to Obama over the poor job of defending Americans abroad and apologizing for free speech to the world. He probably doesn't feel like he's got a lot to offer in return, with little foreign policy experience. That's his struggle – he's a one trick pony – if you're not steamed about the state of the economy, you've got little reason to get excited. He's preferable to Obama, but not by much for most Americans. That's too bad, because we (the GOP) could have had a clearer distinction in other candidates (Santorum, for instance). I just read that Obama is beating Romney in Las Vegas – that is not a good sign – Obama ahead in the place hit hardest by the economic downturn Obama has failed to fix. If Romney's message can't resonate in Nevada, then where can it resonate?

    September 20, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. myviewis

    Then why are we bothering with an election if Obama wants us to do his job if he is re-elected for another 4 years?

    I hate to tell Obama but this is the job he is getting hired to do. Oh yes, I forgot Obama loves talking, talking, talking like a good saleman.

    We might as well hire ourselves and get paid for it if we are to do his job

    "So something that I'd really like to concentrate on in my second term, is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward."

    I agree with Romney, it's time for Obama to be on the outside with the rest of us, he can then play golf, basketball and talk all he wants.

    September 20, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. Joseph Smith

    I think Romney is delusional...what is wrong with this guy?

    September 20, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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