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. Bill from GA

    GDP from MINUS 7 to PLUS 4 percent, stock markets DOUBLED, from loosing over 750 thousand jobs per mont to positive job growth.

    That is a great accomplishment, with no help from the republicans,.

    4 more years!!

    October 11, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. James

    4 years of Obaminonics Sucks big time....

    Our Ambassador and three Americas killed due to lack of security which the Ambassador and other military commanders requested and Obama Lies to cover his

    The Obamination of America


    Fast and Furious- Gate

    Solyndra- Gate


    butt.... what a pathetic embarrassment we have in the White House....

    October 11, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Fact

    "He even loves the most important parts of Obamacare," Obama said. "What happened?"
    The important parts like: allowing kids to stay on their parents plan until they are 26.
    NOT forcing it on a national level.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 12, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Bob

    @James: What makes you think that the request for increased security in Benghazi reached a level where Obama could have known about it? What about the Republican gutting of the Obama administration's request for funding for embassy security to the tune of $270 billion?? How about the economic turnaround, as low as it is??? Your guys want to return to the deregulaed conditons that screwed the pooch in 2008. Sorry, you offer nothing of substance, just like Romney?Ryan.

    October 12, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  5. Bob

    Typo in the above: "How about the economic turnaround, as SLOW as it is?"

    October 12, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  6. A True Conservative

    All Obama can do is attack his opponent – he certainly can run on his record! BTW Mr President – did you really give extra cash to an embassy to buy Chevy Volts and not provide the requested security to another one? Shame, shame, shame.

    October 12, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. bolts

    More talk from Obama as usual...just more speeches...

    October 12, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  8. Jim Sedberry

    It's really a shame that obama has to send his "lackey" to try and defend an undefensable 4 year record of unemployment, welfare and an absolutely dismal foreigh policy. Biden has no place in representing this county as a vp, he needs to move back to Scranton, and spin his tales of bs, I'm sure after a few beers they become more laughable than he was last night!!

    October 12, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  9. Dan

    ...right – gloves off – teleprompters up.

    October 12, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. MFVJR

    Mr. chameleon Mitt Romney would say anything to suit the situation. No core

    October 12, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  11. popseal

    Like a wounded animal, the one world SOCK PUPPET now goes for the throat? Soros and his friends in the Bilderberg/Davos/UN clique have their panties in a bunch at the prospect of their boy being thrown off his faux messiah throne. The Meican bazillionaire is giving free phones to the permanent dependent class trying to shore up the popularity leak currenty at the White House. What a farce and tragedy all at the same time.!?

    October 12, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  12. Guest

    Gloves off?? We'll go from blowhard Biden to pompous, self centered Barrack and a repeat of the same old stuff we've been hearing for years. Time to go with a new approach!

    ROMNEY/RYAN 2012

    October 12, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. AgentProvoca

    Polling today on the outcome of the vice presidential debate indicate:
    ● 1/3 of registered voters say Joe Biden won the debate
    ● 1/3 of registered voters say Paul Ryan won the debate
    ● 1/3 of registered voters say they're unsure who won the debate, but they are sure that Barack Obama isn't going to be reelected

    October 12, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Paul Ryan rambled like Romney did with no specifics on domestic or foreign affairs because they believe they can call the American people takers and moochers and still get their vote. Ryan called Romney a job creator but we all know he Romney is no job creator because as Governor, MA was 47th in job growth, many American companies shut down and jobs shipped overseas. And under Paul Ryan's leadership in which the GOP controlled the House and Senate and the Executive branches, they squandered a surplus overnight and gave tax breaks to the rich and the end result was high inflation, a housing crisis, record unemployment, a broken financial structure and the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression. So who's economic judgement do you trust? The judgement of Romney that says let the auto industry go bankrupt or the judgement of President Obama to save the auto industry and over 1.2 million manufacturing jobs?

    Obama/biden 2012 by a LANDSLIDE!

    October 12, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  15. diamond

    Please give more time for Michelle to tour aound the world squqndering tax money in the process.

    October 12, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  16. drc

    A community organizer that uses the race card reguarly, has succeeded in dividing the country

    A man who demeans success and wealth and rewards laziness and the pathetic.

    A 'leader' who blames everyone but his illegal alien aunt in Boston for his lack of leadership and continued disaster economy that would have gotten to where it is NOW without putting us 6 Trillion more in debt because ALL recessions are cyclical.

    A man who promised to cut the deficit yet has succeeded increasing our debt twice as fast as George W (who I also did not vote for).

    A man that has, at best, a questionable background over-looked by the media simply because everyone was so excited to have the first half-black President.

    An Administration that promised to Change Washington and yet, nothing has changed.

    Billions wasted on now bankrupt Solar companies.

    A cover-up over Fast and Furious and the usual blame game

    A cover-up on Benghazi and the usual finger-pointing.

    6 Trillion more in debt and you guessed it, it is Bush's fault

    Lies on the fact WE CAN NEVER pay off our debt without taxes going up on EVERYONE (In the words of Biden, it is not mathematically possible otherwise)

    I man that had and still has NO experience to thold the office he holds (he one for one reason and we all know it)

    Sorry, I never voted for Bush but was not foolish enough to vote for King Obama the first time and certainly having seen the last 4 years of nothing changing I will take my chances with a man that at least has RUN a business, that has created wealth, that may not be perfect (no one is) but at least he has a clue versus the current clown-in-chief.

    October 12, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. true blue

    Gloves off correct: it's time to fight, last night Joe put Ryan in place with the phone call bagging for money. he also had to live-up to being on government assistance something he tried to hide but it came out two days ago. America Rob-me/lying Ryan is bad for this country. Michigan and Florida. this bud belongs to you Jobs and retirement lets send these clowns home.

    October 12, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |

    President OBAMA ....bring the FACTS and numbers to the game surely...cause we know the dirt on Mitt. Seems like people try and forgive him for this. Whip him down with your presidential facts then throw the Mitt dirt in his American Job Killing Face. You are a President with nothing to loose. Speak up for ALL AMERICANS.

    October 12, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. Critical Thinking

    It's new compared to the lies that you have been telling. When Americans saw Mr. Romney vs. the false Mr. Romney that you and your campaign created, well they now know what kind of individual you are.

    Mr. President, truth and facts are your kryponite, they make you weak.

    October 12, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. CarolinaGirl

    James, what about the young men who died going into Iran because Bush and Chenny lied about weapons of destruction? Give me a break! Also, buddy get your facts straight!

    October 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. MIddle Class Independed Swing State Voter

    Oh ok I get it now.....
    So when Romney is rude and interrupts in the first debate, the President is seen as weak. But when Biden uses the same tactic last night, Ryan is seen as calm and distingushed??? Talk about spin and double standards. Good thing I'm not a media sheep and vote based on substance and facts

    October 12, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. MIddle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    So when Romney is rude and interrupts in the first debate, the President is seen as weak. But when Biden uses the same tactic last night, Ryan is seen as calm and distingushed??? Talk about spin and double standards. Good thing I'm not a media sheep and vote based on substance and facts

    October 12, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. Dave

    Obamas record is great. His administration has already created more jobs in 3 years than Bush did in 8. He saved us from the worst of the Bush Depression. He turned around Wall Street.

    Had the Republicans not BLOCKED his legislation, we would have added another million or so jobs.

    The proof is this...Bush lowered the tax rates on the wealthy...NOT a sigle job came out of that. Bush gave tax credits to Americans moving their business overseas costing us 7 MILLION jobs, closing 40,000 factories, and making the rich even richer at the expense of the middle-class and working poor.

    Obama is doing a fine job. Ignore the right-wing hysteria. Trickle down does NOT work.

    October 12, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. true blue

    The Definition of Republican
    The act of obstructing, or state of being obstructed.
    That which obstructs or impedes; an obstacle; an impediment; a hindrance.
    The condition of having the natural powers obstructed in their usual course; the arrest of the vital functions; death.
    To die, and go we know not where,
    To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot.

    October 12, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |

    I just hope President Obama took notes from Biden's performance last night.
    There is no excuse for Obama's poor debate performance.
    He should do much better at this debate

    October 12, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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