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. Mike in Texas

    Washington will only change when the following happens:

    Lobbyists are banned
    Campaign contributions are limited
    Super PACS are eliminated
    Term limits for Congress

    Do you really think Congress would change these and Romney sign them into law? Only a fool would think so.

    September 20, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. Bob

    "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."

    Not so much. There was a supermajority in the Senate for a total of about 6 months after Obama took office, during which the ACA was passed. The rest of his term, he has had to deal with an unprecedented number of filibusters that caused Congressional gridlock. But we can't expect such facts to to come from Romney's mouth, can we? No, I didn't think so.

    September 20, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. Joe citizen abroad

    Pathetic. The only thing Romney changes is what he says...to suit the audience. The man will say anything to get elected, and he proves it on a daily basis. Too bad Paul Ryan wasn't standing next to him to explain how his Medicare-gutting budget is going to "save Medicare"...or how seniors will afford medicine or how people with existing conditions will be covered when he "repeals Obamacare." Disgusting. Can't wait for the debates. I'm sure Mitt will have the last gaffe.

    September 20, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Mike in Texas

    Romney's problem is that of McCain. He is trying to throw everything at Obama. This shows desperation and no central theme. He is all over the place with weak attacks that only drum of the base. If Romney is still trying to convince his base with 7 weeks left, he is in trouble.

    The attack Obama and say little about me strategy isn't gaining traction.

    September 20, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Melinda

    Of course change does not come from inside Washington, they are happy with things the way they are. Changes comes from the outside when we go into the voting booth.

    September 20, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. Name w.bullock

    Why persdient obama don't want tell truth. To people what happened about fraud check scam
    From afrcian

    September 20, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. Dave Jansen

    Any reason the article (as of 9:26pm) failed to mention that Romney was quoted as saying the EXACT same thing back in 2008?

    September 20, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. Floyd from Illinois

    Romney is the chimp at the zoo, and he's running out of stuff to fling at the visitors.

    September 20, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. Ant

    Mitt u r better stop lie when u say he got the House n the Senat in 2008 to 2010. Obama did not hve the 60 votes he needed too to past all his policies n it'd be the same for u if u win. He needed 218 votes in the house n 60 votes in the senat, but he did not hve the 60 votes in the senat.

    September 20, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Joel Miller

    Romney's attack is desperate and lame. Everyone knows what the President was saying and in fact it is pretty much what the Republicans say all the time: you can't elect a Washington insider. If Romney wants to claw his way back in the race he better come up with better attacks than this.

    September 20, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. once upon a horse

    every time I see the "new" Romney attack lines I can just picture Rick Santorum in a room laughing to himself saying "See I told ya.....Mitt Romney is the WORST candidate we could EVER run against Obama"! And I am not a Santorum fan by any means in fact given the choice I would take the REAL Mitt Romney (who is a moderate by the way ) over Rick Santorum any day but Rick hit the nail right on the head with that quote and I bet he knows it.

    September 20, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. VictorM

    Nothing new from Romney and the right wing nut cases. Latch onto a phrase and spin it in a way that will hopefully make Obama look bad. Luckily, it's only the right wing nutters that gobble this fantasy up. I sense a desperate RomneyBot.

    September 20, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. TJC

    Snarkiness is not a qualification for President. Sorry Mr. Romney.

    September 20, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. TheTraveler

    "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!"

    Point is, Obama is right. The AMERICAN PEOPLE can change any aspect of government they want through our democratic process. This is what Mitt Romney doesn't understand. He thinks government is run like a corporation, with a Board of Directors running the show through a CEO. But even a Board of Directors and a CEO can be ousted by the shareholders ... Changes come from mandates of the CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the 100%. WE decide and empower our elected representatives, WE re-elect them or we don't.

    I have no idea where he got a "white flag of surrender" out of Obama's comments. Obama leads in the polls, the margin is increasing and Mitt tosses out this little gem? Sad really ... Mitt's bravado wins nothing for him.

    Mitt, you're fired.

    September 20, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  15. chilipeppr111

    An American who supports this tax-dodging, Mormon fanatic, Corporatocracy shill has to be absolutely brainwashed by propaganda, or completely ignorant.

    September 20, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  16. toby

    Romney is so Pathetic!

    September 20, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  17. Ronald

    I'm tired of all this he said, she said crap. If us regular Americans acted that way, we wouldnt get anything done. Sad part is WE pay this politicians 10 to 20 times what we make. Just stick to the facts.

    September 20, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that Romney will win this. He has made many too many assumptions about people that aren't true. He needs to stop putting his foot in his mouth and state what his assumptions are about government and people. His plans haven't been 100% clear.

    September 20, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  19. Dont matter

    "What he has done to Medicare to pay for Obamacare is wrong,"

    So Mitt, you mean cutting fraud and then REINVESTING that money back into Medicare to extend its life is wrong now? Mitt is such a LIAR!!!!!!

    September 20, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. us_1776

    Change has to come from the People.

    Please register to vote.

    Push 'D' on all congressional and senate races.

    4 more for 44

    Obama | Biden 2012 4.5+ Million Jobs and still growing

    .

    September 20, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  21. allens

    will showing american voters his tax returns be part of his new line of attack? did not think so. we want to see your tax returns. we know you are afraid to show them for good reason

    September 20, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Did you see the Latino-looking super-heavy make-up he had on at the tele-mundo gethering. What a dolt.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 20, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  23. Donald Jahn

    President Obama hit it right on the head. We the American people not only need to elect him President. We need to mobilize and speak out by giving control of the House and Senate to the Democrats’. That’s far from surrender that’s using good common sense, by giving him the tools he needs to get it done. Romney needs better sense if he wants to fight for us and he doesn’t have it.

    September 20, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. Steen

    Is Mitt serious? Is this man on medication or does he have mental condition? Why is it that he never understand what Obama is saying, or anybody else for that matter. Obama was talking about the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Mr. Romney! We the people, remember us? He is talking about mobilizing the PEOPLE to get more involved in government so that we don't elect individuals such as yourself to continue to run this country....How much does the GOP pay for a translator?

    September 20, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  25. pitdownman

    Romney couldn't change his underwear.

    September 20, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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