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. AHFF

    So i assume we'll see a week of frenzied coverage over Obama's new "I can't change" gaffe?

    September 20, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  2. Leftcoastrocky

    In 2007, Mitt Romney himself said: "I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside."

    September 20, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  3. DLEE

    *yawn*...I would like to note however, that during his televised event today, he lied once again actually saying that he will 'save medicare' and the billions 'obama wastes'...of course what he fails to mention is those billions are theft and fraud claims he will let continue to make sure it goes bankrupt before their worthless voucher program kicks in. Anybody that votes for these crooks deserves what they get.

    September 20, 2012 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. Leroy

    One thing we know for certain: Not many voters trust Willard Myth Romney!

    September 20, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. flip flopney

    You're reaching, mittens

    September 20, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. joeymom

    In other words, Romney did not understand what the President was talking about: that the country belongs to the people, and so it is the people who have the power to change it. And this man wants to be President?

    September 20, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. Willa45

    Oh wow! A "gotcha" moment and another 'clever' one liner from Mitt! How about some straight talk and some specifics on exactly how to clean up the cesspool of corruption we have in DC. Obama said it better, corrupt politicians aren't going to change from within or step down voluntarily....the only way to get rid of all the reptiles and excess baggage in Congress (and voters from both parties know who they are), is for the People to boot them out in November! That's how Democracy is supposed to work....from all of us on the outside, folks...not the other way around!

    September 20, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. maltytasker

    "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."

    Wrong Romney, and you know it. Obama only had the 60 votes in the Senate needed to avoid a filibuster for 5 months out of the two years of the 111th Congress, so he could not do whatever he wanted for two years. Another Romney lie.

    September 20, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. toobadsosad

    Obama's Slogan from 2008 has gone from "Change you can believe in" just became "Change I can't deliver". Interesting

    September 20, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  10. southernwonder

    does romney have a botox?

    September 20, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. nmdave

    Give him hell, Mitt. Attack his dismal record; attack all his lies about being raised a poor kid and that car that was so rusty they could see the pavement go by, you didn't build that, gonna put you all in chains; attack his lack of support for Israel and his inept foreign policy where US citizens are killed and he goes on Letterman; Attack the debt and his economic mess and the middle class tax called Obama Care;...That's the pathway to victory in Nov.

    September 20, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  12. Michael

    Romney, you're an idiot.

    September 20, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. donny

    i wonder if romeney would just cut people off there checks or foodstamps job or no job? makes you wonder

    September 20, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  14. filmbuffc

    A pitiful but predictable Romney response to an honest statement...and it's hardly new that many politiicans and pundits have commented on the almost unmatched level of obstructionism from the Repubs in this past Congress...Mitt's desperation is showing!

    September 20, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  15. DocHollywood

    "Yes" Romney said, "I'm going to protect medicare. I'm going to protect it from those money grubbing, lazy, non-working seniors (part of that 47% I was talking about) who just sit around all day and suck from the government's teat. I'm going to protect it by making it a voucher system, where private companies will be able to make fortunes charging those old, senile seniors overpriced policies which, coincidentally, our voucher system won't fully cover. Oh well, tough noogies".

    September 20, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  16. DJESQ

    2 0 2 4 - After the Collapse (see CBO for analyses)

    You hoarded your silver and gold and ammo … so you should be okay

    But now the horde is beating on your door – they want you to REDISTRIBUTE your goodies …

    hey, no problem, you know how to share … right?

    September 20, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  17. Dennis

    I think this man needs to learn how to stay silent on certain things. At this point, he is hurting his non-existent image. Sad...

    September 20, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  18. HenryB

    You are toast Mitt. Everything you do from now on appears to be the actions of a desperate man. The kitchen sink approach which WILL NOT WORK. You are a clown, sir, a real clown.

    September 20, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  19. nmdave

    Give it to him, Mitt. Attack his dismal record; attack all his lies about being raised a poor kid and that car that was so rusty they could see the pavement go by, you didn't build that, gonna put you all in chains; attack his lack of support for Israel and his inept foreign policy where US citizens are killed and he goes on Letterman; Attack the debt and his economic mess and the middle class tax called Obama Care;...That's the pathway to victory in Nov.

    September 20, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  20. Mark Taylor

    Like a cornered, wounded animal.

    September 20, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  21. Jack

    Didn't he just finish last week calling Seniors a bunch of worthless bums who should get a job? Now he's saying he's going to save them from Obama?

    This has got to be the most insincere campaign in history. People are buying this?

    September 20, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  22. rob

    Can Romney get any more desperate?

    September 20, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. JL

    Hey Mittens we don't believe you!

    September 20, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  24. O'malley

    Mitt Romney sure is doing an excellent job campaigning for Obama.

    September 20, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. tony

    You can't see Romneys tax returns from outside. Or make a $100,000,000 IRA either.

    September 20, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
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