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. Jude

    mittens is a menace and a mess...if this guy did not have all that $$$$, absolutely no one would listen to a word coming out of his mouth..unless you were forced to, feared him or out of convenience while holding your nose and looking the other way. disgusting some one like him is in a position of power for no other reason than because he "looks" the part and $$$.

    September 21, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  2. DK

    RR Camp is finished. Game Over.

    September 21, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  3. drkent3

    Republican lie – that Obama had 2 years with a filibuster-proof House and Senate. The reality is that he had this for only 24 days. After that, Democrats were short of the 60 votes needed in the Senate to override the Republican filibuster machine. The filibuster was used more in the last 4 years than in any previous Congress.

    September 21, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  4. tor22

    Does Romney think he can win by distorting Obama's words? Really. One after the other, he appears to depend on misrepresenting Obama's statements and phrases. It is so obvious. Can't be more obvious. The above example is just one. That is why President Clinton said " I didn't know whether to laugh or cry" regarding Romney campaign's lies
    Romney, it is obvious that you have lost the election

    September 21, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  5. Trevor

    I expect him to criticize every breath Obama takes from now till election day, but he doesn't seem to realize how desperate this makes him look. He's shot himself in the foot too many times that no amount of criticism of Obama will reverse the elections tide. GOP better aim for 2016.

    September 21, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  6. Wanderin' Star

    WWCD........What would Clint do ? Mr. Romney's remarks make less and less sense. Next thing you know,he'll be talking to furniture.

    September 21, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  7. Ahoy

    This just in: Obama declares his support for breathing air and Republicans all over the country start suffocating themselves in the name of Freedom.

    September 21, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  8. dave t

    I've heaard that same comment about the inability to change from my republican friends. I've been told there are a great many new politicians who go to Wahington with big ideas and are immediatly informed "don't rock the boat", there is a mentality of us vs them that will exist as long as there are no term limits.

    September 21, 2012 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  9. jerrylax

    obama is dead in the water...he can't/won't pull the dems and gop together simply because he is not a leader...great things are done by leaders who have the skill and will to bring people together for good works. Romney 2012

    September 21, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  10. DessertAaronAZ

    Let me get this straight. Obama is not allowed to hold the previous administration accountable for most of the economic meltdown. Yet, the Romney camp is using comments Obama made in 1988 as proof that... what? All I know is that I was in the 11th grade and do I view life the same way now..? No.

    September 21, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  11. vdrummin

    You don't know what to come up with to attack the President everyday do you Romney? Maybe becuase you don't have a plan of your own other then to help the rich get richer and leave out "THOSE PEOPLE" the 47%. Well there are more then 47% out there and we will show you in November. You need to go back to corporate business so you can raid a few more companies and hide your money oversees so you get out of paying taxes Mr. 13% tax break....
    Your a loser and everyone see's that.

    September 21, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  12. Drew

    Its True you cannot change the country from the inside...Grid lock is the obstacle,,,

    September 21, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  13. Mark b

    It is sooooooooo, refreshing to hear reporters ask real question.

    I was starting to believe all anchors were numb dopes that road there past accomplishment to the anchor roles and then suspended all there intelligence.

    Then I remembered, if the media does there job, like Univision did, Obama will lose in debates because he can't escape the truth.

    All reportes need to do is report the news and ask obama ehat is going on.

    His promises, failures, words, actions, coverups, terrorist attacks, Middle East burn. Nothing is in his corner, nothing.

    It was embarrassing to watch our commander in chief look so weak against real hard hitting questions.

    September 21, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  14. JT

    Obama needs to go, and I voted for him.

    September 21, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  15. 0rangeW3dge

    "Isn't that amazing?" ,, well, no Mitt, it's not,,,but what is amazing is that a 65 year-old man would have to resort to such childish remarks, like a preschool playground to try to get people to turn against the President and vote for you....
    Utterly childish

    September 21, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  16. annieL

    Strange Obama quote for Romney to pick up and run with. Especially coming from the party that refused to change ANY of their rigid positions for FOUR years, except the ones that they were for until Obama agreed with them. First they were for it, then they were against it. Time after time after time. But that's OK. We know what they did, President Obama. We're that smart!

    September 21, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  17. AJ Kaid

    I do have to agree with Mitt Romney on this one because Obama could have got a lot of things done with the Majority he had in the Senate and House but chose not to.

    September 21, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. YoungVAVET

    I'm as democrat as they come, but come on Mr. President; you aren't allowed to say 'you can only change things from outside of washington' when you raise hundreds of millions of dollars to put you back into office for another four years. I wish these chameleons would shoot strait with us, like 'Things are bad, real bad; and it's going to get a lot worse'.

    September 21, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  19. YoungVAVET

    chirp 😉

    September 21, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  20. Kris Wood

    And 0 details of how were given. Again.

    September 21, 2012 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  21. James Mn

    "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." Dream on Mr. Romney. You are sooo clueless as to what needs to be don in DC that it is laughable when you make a promise you have no intention of keeping. Oh I know you would change thins all right, but only for the wealthy. You mock Pres. Obamas "redistribution" talk only because it does not coincide with your view of re-distribution. That would be re-distributing more wealth to the top 5%.

    September 21, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  22. Marry

    Of cause change has to come from the “outside”! From the voters that support the President and will vote for a Congress and Senate that will work and compromise on policies that help America and her people!
    Stop the ranting R+R team (or what is it?) and the GOP/TP madness! Strait Democratic ticket 2012!!!

    September 21, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  23. Clarence

    Liberals are swine. Most foul.

    September 21, 2012 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  24. Ron

    It is obvious that the Romney campaign is very desperate and trying to distract from Romney's recent Anti-American comments.

    September 21, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  25. Obama2012

    Romney: You will NEVER be President of the United States of America. You are not qualified. Simple as that.

    September 21, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
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