Gloves off: Obama readies for next showdown with Romney
October 11th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
2 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. Padraig

    Some of these comments are hysterical, very funny. I like the one about Romney and Ryan the two frat boys who can't tell the truth. That one was good, this is coming from someone who is following a Chicago politician. That is rich!

    All Romney has to do is press on all the failures that the Obama administration has achieved. He did an excellent job in the first debate and should be able to continue in the second debate. I am sure some will read this and say that the Republicans continually blocked Obama and you really need to stop using this excuse. The Democratic party controlled the House, Senate, and the Presidential seat for the first two years. If anyone blocked anything it was the Democratic party.

    October 11, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    -------------------------------------------------
    Go ahead Mr.President! Go ahead!!
    This is what I want to see at your next debate!
    Put that beautiful smile of yours on your face, look that Mitthead straight in the eye and call him out!!
    Do it for us the 47%ers. the 99%ers, the 52%ers. Do it for America.
    You're our voice sir. Don't be afraid to use it.

    Now go get yourself a Mitt!
    Obama 2012. No doubt about it America.

    October 11, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. nuff said

    Will Obama ever realize his never ending negativity is his true downfall? He preached hope and change but never believed there could be a positive way forward. In the eyes of the world he has lost all credibility. And we can't wait 4 more years for him to find his mojo !

    October 11, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. scott

    Just remember people Obama has nothing to run on, everything he did was a failure . 16 trillion in debt thousands unemployed, thousands homeless. Four years ago he campaign on hope and change, I see no hope and the only change I see is for the worse. We cannot afford four more years of this clown. Vote Romney/Ryan for a better and stronger America.

    October 11, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. Phred

    Are they pink gloves? Soon to be auctioned off along with all the other ridiculous NFL paraphenalia?

    October 11, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. Ruth

    If you can possibly ignore the partisanship, .. and then even if you ignore the totally different paths they wish to take America.. how about just looking at them as men.. Who lies and who is more truthful and trustworthy? I guess with all the spin, given by each party that is hard to do.. mud thrown every which way.
    O.K. ..how about this... do not believe they are lying unless you catch them in it with their own words...from their own mouths... you have enough data for that one do you not?
    Who is more trustworthy?

    October 11, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    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
    -----------------
    Go ahead Mr.President! Go ahead!!
    This is what I want to see at your next debate!
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Well good then. You are not a very tough customer.
    The rest of us want to see a strategy forward, a plan and something to suggest confidence that he can deal with the issues. We did not see this in Debate No. 1,

    October 11, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. EJ

    If you are one who thinks Obama is a failure take a look at the value of your 401K just after "Cowboy Bush)" left office snd compare that to where it is now...they tried to make him fail like they said they wanted but he refused to allow it.

    October 11, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. Garth

    Little late for "gloves off" Voters will take that first debate impression to the voting booth. Now that Obama's been coached and readied for the future debates, we'll have evidence of how controlled and manipulated he is. A failed president who needs to go. Four more years of this? Heaven help us.

    October 11, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Pete

    @four and the door,others,Pres.Obama isn't coming out polite this time and Romneys going to see it,can't keep running on his lies can he!!Romneys not going to like it because the presidents calling out the pathelogical liar on abortion,taxes and everything else,that's going to stew Romney because he was called a liar in the primaries as well!!So Romney what yah gonna do run or punt because your bounce is disappearing quickly isn't it and now your polls are much like you ,unattractive when losing !!!Truth does hurt doesn't it!!

    October 11, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Joseph Perez

    Nothing wrong with moving into the middle which Obama should have done long ago instead of his my way or the highway way of doing things. Moving to the middle means you’re going to work for all Americans.

    October 11, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. 1608

    What ppl don't understand is he was ready at the 1st and did a good job letting dig his mile long foxhole

    October 11, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. 1608

    letting Mitt.

    October 11, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Leave the gloves on, Barry.. You can hide some Brass Knuckles inside them!!

    October 11, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  15. Name Sheon1

    Look at USA now and see Obama plan is working. We are bleeding hundred of thousand jobs. We are not losing our 401K. We see what is happening around us and can say we our better off then 4 years ago! Romney has a plan for a day then flips it. He wants to get rid of the dept of education. He wants to take away programs that help the 47% to pay for tax breaks for the rich.

    October 11, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. Bill from GA

    Hey Barry, hit mitts with some charts showing the humongous turnaround in GDP, the stock markets, and job growth ( from loosing over 750 THOUSAND per month to 31 months of job growth.)

    Let mitts lie his way around that!

    October 11, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Canuck

    "President Barack Obama pulled no punches when talking about his Republican opponent"

    How about pulling no punches when talking TO Romney, Mr President.

    October 11, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. plain&simple

    The problem Romney has is videos!!!! Everything is recorded. Marketing schemes won't fool the public forever. What was it Lincoln said about fooling people???? Who would have though it would apply today.....remind Romney the truth endures. In his world it was frowned upon,always money...the bottom line.

    October 11, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    Name Sheon1
    Look at USA now and see Obama plan is working. We are bleeding hundred of thousand jobs. We are not losing our 401K. We see what is happening around us and can say we our better off then 4 years ago!
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    1% GDP growth is working? For who? Not the millions of unemployed, underemployed and homeless Americans. Not for the next generations of Americans saddled with $6,000,000,000,000 of new national debt to deal with while trying to support a more expensive government. And not for those Americans already born who will be seniors long after Medicare funding has run dry.

    October 11, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. Bill from GA

    Hey, 4-door, the plan was working GREAT until the repugs got 41 seats in the Senate and began to block the President.'s agenda

    October 11, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    There's no limit to how far the Hussein Obama administration will go. NONE

    October 11, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Tim

    I find it amazing that with all of the issues surrounding Obama's lying about Libya, more fall-out from Fast and Furious, another Obama corruption case with Obama routing money to a failed solar company... there is almost nothing about this on CNN. It would seem the leftist bias runs deep with the main stream media.

    October 11, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    Romney will drill Obama on the Benghazi coverup. And Mr. Transparect (Anything but) will show his typical ignorant (or lying) side.

    October 11, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    Bill from GA
    Hey, 4-door, the plan was working GREAT until the repugs got 41 seats in the Senate and began to block the President.'s agenda
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Yeah, 10% unemployment and rising. A 2011 budget $100 billion higher from Obama and Reid. And Obama expecting to raise the debt ceiling without any restrictions on spending. Those were the good old days. But "repugs" changed all of those things. But the job is not complete and neither is the shellacking. Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    October 11, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. MTATL67

    Romney will say anything for a vote. The man is.... Untrustworthy and Dishonest...a half truth is a lie.

    October 11, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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