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. FlotsamJetsam

    I just read something interesting on the polling. Polls that use cell phones have Obama up by 2 points over those polls that don't.

    Conversely Romney has a huge lead with people who use dial up Internet service. Romney also has the Amish vote locked up!

    September 20, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  2. Dennis

    Sounds of a desperate man

    September 20, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  3. barry

    President Obama can't change Washington and he knows it. He is a divider and that's not what this Great Country needs right now. Romney isn't as flashy but he is what we need at this point.

    September 20, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  4. Dennis

    Sounds of a desperate man.

    September 20, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. Bugl3t

    I'm sorry... more tax cuts for rich folks... cuts in social programs.... killing unions... do away with Roe v. Wade... how is that change from the standard GOP offerings?

    September 20, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Maybe if the guy would stop the attack mode and speak out in clear terms exactly what he would do and more importantly detail how he would do it he could get some traction. Message Mitt,the swing voters are sick of attack mode. Old saying,"where's the meat?"

    September 20, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  7. Tony in ST. Louis

    My message to Romney. Stop trying to attack Obama, and tell the American people what your plans are. Then show U.S. your tax returns! Thanks!

    September 20, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. Proud Independent !

    Does anyone care what Romney say's about anything anymore ? He has lost all credibility , I wish he would just go away now and leave us alone !

    September 20, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  9. jake

    The stench of gop desperation is starting to stain romneys shirts. This guy will say anything to anybody to sell everything. Whats next for this clown? In 6 months romney will be a thing of the past and his 9 year chase for the white house will be over and his village can have their idiot back. In a year he will be long forgotten. Obama/Biden 2012..Hillary 2016.

    September 20, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  10. Eddie

    The first thing you need to know about Mitt Romney is that he is a Mormon, aka a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They call themselves Christians, but they have so thoroughly brainwashed their members that anything the church says…goes. No matter how much Mitt Romney says he would keep his church separate from Government, and how he would never let the church come in and run Government, commands of the church come first and foremost in Mormon minds.

    If the church wanted Mitt to let them come in (AND THEY WOULD) and help or direct the Government, that is how it would be. Why? Because the church leaders would supposedly have a “vision” that it is God’s will. The church is all about trying to prop up the image of its founder, Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith had a supposed vision (prophecy) that one day a Mormon would become President of the United States, FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE, of letting the Mormon Church take over the U.S. Government. You can take it to the bank, that if Romney were President, the church leaders would have another “vision,” that a church takeover must happen. By the way, that prophecy was simple revenge for perceived wrongs done to Joseph Smith by the government. Nevertheless they treat all his prophecies seriously, no matter how ridiculous they are.

    September 20, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  11. jbm66

    I find it amusing that Mitt Romney lumped himself as part of the 47% that does not pay taxes.......No wonder he is hiding his tax returns......What a clown...

    September 21, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  12. Spencer Shay

    This latest desperate attack from Mitt Romney won't work, either. Hahahahaha! Mitt Romney wants people to forget he called half of the country freeloaders, and the media is trying to throw him a lifeline. This is not a gaffe. Barack Obama says this all the time. Mitt Romney doesn't think change can happen from the outside, because he's already written off 47% of the country!

    September 21, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  13. jbm66

    I also find it amusing that the 47% that do not pay taxes are mostly vote Republican who are elderly and disabled war veterans, and the Southern bible belt...Now that Romney has just insulted them I wonder if they will still vote against their economic interest for Romney...

    September 21, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  14. fire0bama

    Fire 0bama. Period.

    September 21, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  15. Spencer Shay

    You know why there are hardly any comments on here? Because nobody cares about this phony non-troversy. That should tell you where this "story" is going: Nowhere. The Huffington Post had over 200,000 comments about Mitt Romney's 47% scandal, within only a few hours. It was their top story all day, Wednesday. They have already dropped this "change gaffe" story from the top of their headline page, after only about 10,000 comments. Lefties aren't fretting over it, either. They are still talking about Mitt Romney's 47% remarks.

    September 21, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  16. zeyn2010

    This is like a football game! 🙂 I hope team Obama wins!

    September 21, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  17. hah!

    "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.

    Wow, the Dems will edit a soundbite and flat out lie. How do you like that Obama supporters? What else are they lying to America about? Here's a hint. Google "obama voter fraud". It will open your eyes.

    September 21, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  18. MikeB

    So, Obama is shifting to anarchy to get things done.
    He's tried Mob rule through tool of Democracy and is coming up short.
    What's left is intimidation through anarchy as an alternative tool to Democracy.
    People really should see these web videos to see what Obama is up against.
    "The American Form of Government",
    "Runaway Slave" by Rev. C. L. Bryant,
    "Make Mine Freedom"

    September 21, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  19. Joey Boots

    At this point Rmoney is so punch drunk from his missteps he could claim Obama is showing signs of weakness if he sneezes. This is so pathetic.

    September 21, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  20. Chris Bourne

    Obama said that if Washington was to change it would have to be done by the people not by the politicians. How the hell is that throwing up a white flag? Romney will say or do anything to get a vote. The republicans will repeat a lie over and over until the uninformed believe it to be true. There is no low the republicans won't stoop to. Quit twisting the words and speak on what you are going to do to make America better. There is no way I'm voting for somebody that lies as much as Romney does and his plan to get my vote is to tell me to trust him!!!

    September 21, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  21. the hukd

    both of you guys aren't going to di jack for us every day americans. you will only cater to your rich donors.

    September 21, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  22. penny wright

    Romney pays 13% on his taxes.

    I pay 25%.

    This is the real redistribution of wealth in America

    September 21, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  23. Vincent

    Can't Change Washington from the inside you might as well stay out.

    September 21, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  24. pimpson

    Obama the failure strikes again

    September 21, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  25. Tiki-Honu

    Is this all you have Mr. romney...reactive attack comments? When will you begin to show us that you have any leadership skills? I've always voted Republican but I will continue to support my elected President even if your treasonous party won't.

    September 21, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
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