Gloves off: Obama readies for next showdown with Romney
October 11th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
6 years ago

Gloves off: Obama readies for next showdown with Romney

(CNN) - Less than a week before the second presidential debate, President Barack Obama pulled no punches when talking about his Republican opponent at a campaign rally Thursday, accusing Mitt Romney of going through "an extreme makeover."

"After running for more than a year in which he called himself 'severely conservative,' Mitt Romney's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said at the event in Coral Gables, Florida.

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In February, Romney described himself as "a severely conservative Republican governor" when he led Massachusetts from 2003-2007. The line, which appeared in his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, came as Romney attempted to bolster his standing among the GOP base.

Obama on Thursday, however, made the case that the public now knows a "new version" of Romney. The president aggressively began to portray his Republican challenger as a flip-flopper one week ago, the day after Romney won wide praise for his debate performance, while the president was criticized for not going on the attack.

But Obama seemed eager to pounce at the Florida event, launching slam after slam. "What happened? Now what does he have to say, this new version of Mitt Romney, about all the things he's actually promised to do as president?"

Obama especially targeted Romney over his tax plan, repeating the claim that the GOP's proposal would cost $5 trillion–an argument debunked by multiple fact-checkers, CNN.

Romney proposes a 20% tax rate across the board, the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the elimination of the Alternate Minimum Tax, the estate tax and taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends for those making less than $200,000 a year.

"When he's asked about the cost of his $5 trillion tax plan, he just pretends it doesn't exist. What $5 trillion tax cut? I don't know anything about a $5 trillion tax cut. Don't pay no attention to the $5 trillion tax cut on my website," the president said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Obama got the figure from a study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Romney, however, has forcefully fought back against the study's statistic. Given that he has not laid out all the details of his plan, the study was conducted based on generalities from Romney's proposed tax policies, not an exact proposal.

The former governor argues his tax cuts for the middle class would not add to the deficit, saying he would pay for a reduction in the tax rates by limiting deductions and closing loopholes for the wealthy–though he does not specify which deductions he would eliminate.

"What he was selling was not working, because people understood his ideas wouldn't help the middle class. These days, Mitt Romney's for whatever you're for," Obama said.

A campaign spokesman for Romney responded to the president's remarks Thursday afternoon.

“Today, President Obama continued his campaign’s widely-discredited attack on Mitt Romney’s economic plan. This is what happens when a President has no record to run on and is unable to present a plan for the future," Ryan Williams said in a statement. "As President Obama continues his campaign of dishonest attacks, Mitt Romney will focus on his plan to fix our economy and restore prosperity for all Americans.”

At the rally Thursday, Obama also attacked Romney for vowing to repeal the president's health care reform law, even though Romney as governor enacted a similar plan that served as the blueprint for Obama's federal law.

In recent weeks, Romney has suggested he favors parts of Obama's health care law, such as the provision that make it illegal for insurers to refuse those with pre-existing conditions. Yet the GOP nominee still maintains he would replace the law with his own law.

"He even loves the most important parts of Obamacare," Obama said. "What happened?"

The president made no mention of his vice president, who takes the stage Thursday night in a showdown with Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. According to pool notes, however, Obama called Joe Biden to wish him luck earlier in the day.

Obama faces Romney in the second presidential debate on Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley will moderate the event.

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Filed under: 2012 • Florida • President Obama
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Independent from New Hampshire

    Obama/Biden 2012!!!

    October 11, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. MaryM

    Just Remember, Romney is a snake oil salesman. He will lie and his minion will swear to it

    October 11, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Woman In California

    Now this is what the American people have been waiting for Mr. President. IF you call this liar Willard out on his many lies, he's finished. This time, he can't run to France or to his son's basement to hideout so please, take the gloves off, keep the suit on, continue being presidential and KNOCK HIM OUT.

    One last thing, whatever you do, let Willard and his NON military family be the first to LEAVE the stage. I don't ever want that image or nightmare again.

    Thank you and you have my FULL support.

    October 11, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. California Gary

    I don't think Candy Crowley will let the Mittster run all over her like the moderator in the last debate. If Obama comes out swinging, I think he will find a target rich environment.

    October 11, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. rosco

    But the Labor Department spokesman said the numbers were skewed by one large state that underreported its data. The spokesman declined to identify the state, but economists believe California is the only state large enough to have such a significant impact on the overall numbers.

    Oh Nancy you little trickster!!!!!

    October 11, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. freedom

    This president has a lot of tough questions to answer on his cover-up of the Libya terrorist attack before he goes on preparing for a debate. He has a debate going on with the American people and the families of the vicitms right now. That is defining him in real time. The hearings need to continue until everyone is questioned under oath. The first priorty of our Commander-in-Chief is to protect this nation and its citizens. Not apologize to those burning our flags.

    October 11, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Obama argued Romney has forgotten"

    Apparently, CNN forgot finish the sentence.

    October 11, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Dominicants 4 Nobama

    even now obama is still going on about the $5 trillion...i guess he shows is lack of knowledge of a budget since his budgets has not gotten a single vote from either party in either the house or senate...a budget has income/revenue and expenses/spending...all obama talks about is the income/revenue side and never talks about the expenses/spending side, yeah just because obama never plans to cut any spending doesn't me he can make that up for romney who does plan to cut spending

    October 11, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. rosco

    @wom in cali how r things in cali
    unemply rate ?
    gas prices ??
    food prices ??
    7 cities bk more on the way
    polluted ocean was there last year yuk!!!
    5 of the worst air cities in the us
    i agree the dems have worked thier majic out there have a nice day

    October 11, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. rosco

    @ Mary settle down Doll, Oblunder cant find his putoot with booth hands
    But the Labor Department spokesman said the numbers were skewed by one large state that underreported its data. The spokesman declined to identify the state, but economists believe California is the only state large enough to have such a significant impact on the overall numbers.

    October 11, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    What specifically has Obama done for the middle class? NOTHING!

    What he has done has been NEGATIVE IMPACT!

    Obama for the middle class is another blatant Obama LIE!

    October 11, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Getoverit

    He forgot "pants on fire" and "I know you are, but what am I?"

    October 11, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Bubba Baxter

    obamma keeps his attacks on Romney but has nothing to brag about on his own miserable failed policies of the last four years.. you people keep hoping this guy is going to do something and all he can do is spout out bumper sticker slogans and quote t shirt slogans. He is a loser, a liar, a failure and although he has the lapdog media in his pocket the American people saw him in his true light when he had to go face to face with Romney. Romney looked and acted like a leader. Obamma looked like the whipped dog he is. His 30 second lies and attackes on Romney are losing crediblilty with the public and he is being shown what a miserable president he has been. Stick a fork in him .... he is done..

    October 11, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    RE: "I don't think Candy Crowley will let the Mittster run all over her"

    I think Mitt will drive around instead of running over her to save some gas.

    October 11, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. Bootstomper

    America don't be fooled by romney and Ryan the two frat boys who can't tell the truth. It might have worked while they were yucking it up at Delta house but not in the real world.

    October 11, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Romney will continue the pre-existing condition clause ONLY if you've had continual coverage from some other insurance company. If your ins. company dropped you, Romney will not pick you up again if you have pre-existing conditions. In some cases, just being a female is considere a pre-existing condition to Romney. Monthly problems? Pre-existing. Young and married and want children? Pre-existing.

    You name it, if you're a woman, you're rates are going to be higher and cover less.

    October 11, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. NameMark Hudson

    Obama is becoming increasingly desperate and it shows. The attempted cover up on Libya shows him to be out of touch with the American people.

    October 11, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Borderless

    Obama's definition of "gloves off"?" I'm going to throw every lie and accusation I've got at him. Anything, as long as we don't have to talk about my record."

    October 11, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    The problem with the first debate for Obama was that he had nothing to bring forward to address the issues any better than he has been addressing them with since 2009. Raise taxes and throw money at his favorite liberal causes. Anything with a union, any entitlement and anything that makes people just feel good. How has that worked so far? Predictably lousy.

    We need a real economic strategy, one that can lead a recovery that will put Americans back to work and help American companies lead the world economy. This is what will put America in a position to stop and reverse the growing national debt and to provide the middle class with a higher standard of living than what we have seen in the last 4 years. This is what Romney brought to the debate. Obama is in denial but American voters are not. Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    October 11, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. laraine

    Gobama. I have total faith that Obama will wipe up the floor with the serial liar. And, as for those who fell for Romney's lies–wake up. He's an elitist who only cares about the rich. He has no interest in regular hard-working Americans. Not only does he change his platform more often than I change my socks, he also lies about what he said even though it's on tape. Wow.

    October 11, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Eci'Am

    Now that's what I'm taking about! It's on Mitt!

    October 11, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Borderless

    Or maybe by "gloves off" Obama means he's going to stand and stare at his shoes while Romney schools him and as soon as Romney leaves he'll start calling him a bunch of names and making false accusations about him. Like last time.

    October 11, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Hammerer

    Obama can use his record to debate Romney. Tell the world all of the positive accomplishments of the first four years. That should take control of the debate and there would be no need to try to paint Romney a liar or a flip flopper.
    Just run on the truth of his record. If all of the media is correct the campaign will be over.

    October 11, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    Obama talks a mean game as long as he is in front of a friendly crowd. Toe to toe with a more capable, more experienced and more intelligent individual like Mitt Romney? He will cave again. Just tune in and see for yourself.

    October 11, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Steve

    I'm the article CNN states that the 5 trillion tax cut plan Obama keeps saying is a falsehood. Funny how all the lobs never call Obama a liar. That's the problem with liberals, they can never acknowledge errors perpetrated by their own party. They are like a bunch of whining babies

    October 11, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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