Romney opens new line of attack against Obama
September 20th, 2012
05:54 PM ET
10 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. bct

    Romney is just trying to get the focus off his 47%
    He just wants to be president for ego...
    He is out for self and power.
    He could care less about the american people.
    This is the only thing he can't buy and it kills him inside.

    September 20, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. Booji

    Nice try.

    September 20, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  3. Name sawthatoff

    wletterman is a bit unfunny at times however the interview with obama was entertaining revealing and real geniune conversation took place. see the whole intrerview not just the clips. it was smart cool.

    September 20, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  4. Wirius

    Mitt Romney has changed the focus of his campaign so many times, I doubt even he knows what he stands for anymore.

    September 20, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  5. Marian

    Romney can't even get his own campaign together. If he thinks he can move this congress he is dreaming. They don't even like him.

    September 20, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. bct

    He is the rich Dan Quail

    September 20, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. Doug

    The change I would like to see are Romney's tax returns... Now that would be a change !

    September 20, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. KerryG

    Romney is a walking liar. He has no truth in him, he believes in a fantasy religion, and wants to have our nations treasure fight another war that we have no dog in the hunt.

    September 20, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. LouieD

    Hey Schitt! If your sorry excuse for a party wasn't so committed to filibustering to accomplish its ONLY stated goal of "making Obama a one-term president," maybe Obama COULD have accomplished more with a Democratic-majority Congress!

    September 20, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. DJESQ

    The fiscal cliff approaches ...
    Elect BO and feel the thrill of the fall ... see the abyss up close and personal ...

    September 20, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. bct

    John Mccain looks good compared to romney

    September 20, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  12. Cathy

    Mitt, you are just not getting it. Attacking Obama will not win you the election, it just makes you look desperate and nasty.

    September 20, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  13. lucianne

    Really? Romney attacks Obama? Again and again and again? Too bad this empty suit can't find anything to say without retracting it.

    September 20, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  14. penny wright

    Since 1968 Republicans have been on the wrong side of every issue...Medicare, Social Security, equal rights, civil liberties, church state separation, consumer issues, public education, reproductive freedom, national health care, labor issues, gun policy, campaign finance reform, the environment, and tax fairness. No political party could remain so consistently wrong by accident. The only rational conclusion is that, despite their cynical "family values" propaganda, the Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy to betray the interests of the American people in favor of plutocratic and corporate interests, and extremist religious groups.

    September 20, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  15. bct

    Ryan is sad right now.....

    September 20, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  16. Willa45

    So I guess free speech can be squelched if it remains "awaiting moderation" indefinitely. Nice....very nice!! Will you post my comment if I say something nice about Mitt Romney?

    September 20, 2012 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Mittens just doesn't learn from experience does he. He's like a little kid who runs to the teacher to tattle and is tickled pink when he thinks he has some "big news." Change in Washington IS accomplished by the American people, Mitt. We are the voters who put people in office & take people out of office. Pressure from the American people is a powerful force. Mitt, you would do well to slow your rhetoric down and to contemplate what you are going to say before you say it (or before you use what your speech writers have written) and to think through the consequences. Don't rush to respond to what the President says. You sound foolish and like you don't know what you're talking about.

    September 20, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  18. chilipeppr

    I am an American taxpayer, I have worked full-time for over 30 years, I have a college education that I paid for, and I vote. An American who supports this tax-dodging, Mormon fanatic, Corporatocracy shill has to be absolutely brainwashed by propaganda, or completely ignorant, IMNSHO.

    September 20, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. American

    Ryan-Rubio 2016!

    September 20, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. borderless

    Well, CNN? A sitting president up for reelection just announced that he can't bring about the "change" he promised unless he's no longer in office. Will we now see three days of news saturation and over-analysis about his little gaff? Ya, I thought not.

    September 20, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  21. NoMitt

    Mitt is grasping straws – anything to distract people from how bad he is. Odd, would have thought Rich Boy would have been more slick (greasy, slimey, or something like that 😉 It sure is a good thing he's showing his true colors now so we don't have to endure his corporate takeover of America and probably another war or two.

    September 20, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. ggirl

    so let's get this straight.. obama says people need to help make the change in govt., but mittens is now saying the govt. must make change? I thought he was for smaller govt.... this guy doesn't know what he is for.

    September 20, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  23. 31yearoldrunningamajorconcern

    Romney will not become President.

    September 20, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. Dan

    Anything to get people off his own statements.

    September 20, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |

    The only thing Romney can change is his nimble mind. The flip flopping Mitt's Big donors would run Washington with Mitt as their puppet.

    September 20, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
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