October 19th, 2012
02:15 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama diagnoses 'Romnesia'

(CNN) – After an evening of light-hearted jabs, President Barack Obama returned to his cutting criticism of rival Mitt Romney Friday, accusing the GOP nominee of forgetting the hard right positions he took during the GOP primary in order to seem more moderate.

Obama, speaking at a rally in the Northern Virginia suburb of Fairfax, told the crowd his opponent was suffering "Romnesia" after seeming to change his position on contraception, coal, equal pay, and taxes.

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"He told folks he was the ideal candidate for the tea party," Obama said of Romney's stance during the primary season. "Now suddenly he is saying 'what, who me?' He is forgetting what his own positions are and he is betting that you are too. I mean he is changing up so much, back tracking and sidestepping."

Obama said he and his supporters needed to come up with a term for "this condition he is going through," striking upon "Romnesia."

"That's what it's called," Obama declared. "Now I'm not a medical doctor. But I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it."

He continued using the neologism to slam Romney for what he said was a slippery set of positions, including on a set of issues important to women.

"If you say you're for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia," Obama said, referring to the Republican candidate's stance on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which strengthens the ability of women to sue employers over unequal pay.

Vice President Joe Biden piled on Friday, saying at a separate event in Florida that "Romnesia" was a "bad disease."

"And it's contagious, because all of a sudden Paul Ryan, the budget hawk, the guy who introduced a whole budget plan that actually already passed, it already passed the House of Representatives. All of a sudden he doesn't remember it, he doesn't remember it," he said, referring to Romney's running mate.

Romney has yet to clearly state his position on the law, though an adviser said after the second presidential debate that Romney would not seek to repeal it as president.

Obama continued Friday, "If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let employers deny contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia. If you say you will protect a women's right to choose but you stand up in a primary debate and say you'd be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, then you have definitely got Romnesia."

Romney, who says he does not oppose contraception use in women, did voice opposition to a provision included in Obama's health care law that required employers – including Catholic colleges and hospitals – to provide contraception coverage in their insurance plans.

The Obama administration announced in February what it called a compromise to that rule in which free contraception coverage still must be offered to employees of religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals, but health insurers - rather than the employers - would have to cover the cost.

Romney promises on the campaign trail to repeal Obama's health law, including the contraception provision.

Romney's campaign recently battled back accusations the candidate is moderating his stance on reproductive rights after he said in an interview he wouldn't pursue any new abortion legislation. He later said he would seek to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices that would support revisiting and overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion.

Barbara Comstock, a Virginia delegate and Romney campaign surrogate, said Obama was using his attacks on the former Massachusetts governor to mask a failed jobs record.

"When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said.

– CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis contributed to this report.

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

– Ryan zeroes in on energy jobs in Pennsylvania

– Poll: Races in Florida, Ohio remains tight after second debate

– Early voting opens in seven states, D.C.

– Sparring over economy in weekly addresses


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Paul Ryan said it best, all Obama can do is attack, blame and defame.

    October 20, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. Bob

    This might be the most biased article I have seen...the entire article is written from Pro-Obama perspective..here you have Exhibit A in mainstream media's liberal bias!

    October 20, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. Bob

    Hey Dave...corporations and the wealthy are funding Obama's campaign as well...get a clue

    October 20, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. joe

    Pathetic name calling instead of plans for prosperity. This is all Obama has.

    October 20, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. CRW

    Romnesia – Too bad he hadn't thought of it a few months ago... it is the perfect label.

    October 20, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. Kevin Yin

    This is a JOB INTERVIEW!!! Criticizing other candidate doesn't increase your capability. Don't let popularity run over capability in a serious JOB INTERVIEW!!!

    October 20, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. RealityCheck

    The President is a great stand-up comedian. Too bad we need some real leadership and solutions and not entertainment. Good-bye Obama!

    October 20, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. Caspian

    Obama and his juvenile responses. It was Big Bird last week, a 400 million dollar organization that he was trying to save and this week it the Binders. He has no policies to rescue the economy that is in such a bad shape, but spends his time attacking Romney with his childish tactics. Shame on Obama !!!

    October 20, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. BcdErick

    Obama is losing. He's becoming petty and desperate. There are countless important issues facing this country. Childish name calling doesn't help anyone.

    October 20, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Stella

    This is how we know Obama is losing. First, we have Seamus, lady parts, binders and now Romnesia. No wonder Obama has NOTHING productive to show for his presidency. It's time to restore competence and maturity to the White House. Enough with the silly character assassinations. Where is your plan, Mr. Obama?

    October 20, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. Paul Gibbs

    I read all these comments and ot one mention of Jesse Ventura. He's the only American that tells it like it really is. The USA will never get it right until all of you pull your heads out of the sand and truly see what your politics has become. Your election has you all running to the polls to pick which of the two corrupt GANGS will lead you for the next four years. I guarantee you one thing, neither the Rebloodlicans or the Democrips will make your lives any better. They are both controlled by big business and big banks. It's time all Americans stood up and demanded real change in your politics.

    October 20, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. WisKid

    Presidents have tons of advisers and cabinet members and all these experts to help them make decisions.

    I truly believe that the #1 quality a president must have is integrity, character, and honesty.

    Romney has none of these.

    I mean the guy was pro Vietnam war then spent his fighting years IN A CASTLE IN FRANCE RECRUITING FOR HIS CULT!

    The idea that he will say one thing behind closed doors to him billionaire puppet masters then in public say the complete opposite is just further evidence.

    Romney was given tons of free money from his father (who actually wasn't a bad guy BTW, he actually EARNED his money unlike Willard) then used it as seed money to outsource and offshore jobs and multiply it.

    The man is grotesque caricature of what a robber baron would look like today.

    If the free market is Americas immune system, Willard Romney is Lupus.

    October 20, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  13. pinochled

    In the last debate Governor Romney implied that his policies could substantively reduce the price of gas at the pump. Of course, that's a load of bull because the price of gasoline is overwhelmingly determined by international supply and demand. Tossing environmental rules out the window and letting oil companies drill anywhere they damn feel like it (which Romney couldn't realistically do because Congress wouldn't let him) would only have the effect of reducing the price of gasoline by a few cents.

    Problem is, there is a group of voters out there that watched these debates who probably think Governor Romney actually could reduce the price of gasoline substantively. The president needs to call Romney out on this nonsense.
    And, in my opinion, the president needs to offer a plan to deal with rising gas prices in the near term. Promising automobiles with twice the fuel efficiency ten years from now isn't enough. People need relief now.

    Why not promise a big boost in federal funds to the states to expand and modernize mass transit? New buses, expanded routes, and digital displays at bus stops tracking how many minutes away the bus is. Let's get serious about mass transit.

    October 20, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  14. pinochled

    I like how Romney in the last debate implied that his policies could substantively lower the price of gas at the pump. That's a load of crap. The president needs to call him out on that nonsense.

    I'd also like to hear the president get out in front of the gas price issue. I'm sorry but more fuel efficient cars scheduled to arrive in 10 years ain't enough.

    There's a demand for expanded mass transit that's not being met by states like Ohio because they're broke. Obama should propose helping the states expand and modernize their transit systems.

    October 20, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. Alex

    All you liberals on in this great country are just making this country weaker we need a strong President like Romney in office to get this country back on track making it respected in the world. Obama (whom I will not call a President) is making this country looks weak in the eyes of our enemies and his plan for the economy is worse than his foreign policy.

    October 20, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said.

    Well, is Romney running on a plan to have a 0.9% job growth for the country, as he had achieved it in MA under his governorship?

    October 20, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. NoKidding

    "When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said.

    Well, does Romney have a plan to run on? He is running on a plan to achieve a job growth of 0.9% for the country, right? Like what he had achieved in his own state of MA as governor?

    October 20, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  18. Blogger1776

    Our President is suffering a bit of Obamnesia of his own considering that he took an oath to uphold our Constitution, not trample on it.

    October 20, 2012 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  19. Greg Baranoff

    Sounds like Barbara Comstock has also come down with a case of Romnesia. She certainly needs some Obamacare! ; )

    October 20, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  20. James Hing

    If you consider where the country is 4 years after the worst recession
    since the depression, on the rebound not tanking, it is a minor miracle.
    I think it is time to end 32 years of failed Reaganomics and end subsidizing the super rich and end their tax loop holes

    October 20, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  21. LILY

    Obama is the new Napoleon-Napoleon saw nationalism as indispensable to maintaining the loyalty of the French people to his regime. . The trick was for Napoleon to build a personality cult around himself so that the French people would identify him with France itself and therefore make loyalty to him equivalent to loyalty to France. However, by identifying national loyalty with one man, Napoleon inadvertently weakened the inspirational force of nationalism and thus his own power.Napoleon's power and success up until 1808 apparently blinded him to his own limitations.He also left France BANKRUPT-and like Napoleon we intend to banish him to an island after he is relieved of his duties!!

    October 20, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  22. Theodore R

    Forward. Not Backwards. O Yes

    October 20, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  23. Tick, tick, tick...

    Grinandbarack... 3 months and counting.

    October 20, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  24. BigBird Johnson

    Obama has not even presented a plan to make the next four years better than the last 4. All Obama does is distract from his record by talking about Big Bird, Binders, and now romnesia? Is this how smart Obama thinks we are? What's next?

    October 21, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  25. Dino

    Too many female voters in Florida have Romnesia. They are willing to have their rights stomped on tomorrow in exchange for an empty promise by Romney of a few extra dollars in their purses today.

    October 21, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
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