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. Joe Plumber

    Mitt Romney is a crap sandwich. Hold the mayo.

    September 21, 2012 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  2. Majesty Rider

    Knee jerk reactions are unpresidential. Romney is unpresidential.

    September 21, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  3. M

    This fool is desperate now – he is going to focus on the prez instead telling what he stands for – Swiss account liar

    September 21, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  4. Roger

    Doesn't Romney and his team have any originality?
    No creative speeches, no creative economic policies, no creative healthcare, no creative ideas to reduce the deficit, no creative foreign policies....
    Just wait for what the opponent has to say and then say the opposite...
    Waiting to hear something original from Mitt and his team!

    September 21, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  5. E

    Romney is outraged because the President of the United States suggests that the people should have a hand in guiding their representatives to solutions that work for America. No wonder given Twits suggestion that 47% of the population should be written off as beggars and hobos. Is this the best Twit has? "down with the people" says twit, a vote for Twit is a vote for ultra-wealthy elite rule.

    September 21, 2012 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  6. PAUL

    Mr Romney don't only knows how to CHANGE his statements to suit him. He is trying hard to deflect from his awful, disrespectful and disgraceful Remarks he made about US Americans, the 47%. Now he says he's concerned about the 100%. Earlier this year he said he was not concerned about the VERY POOR, as they have a Safety Net, the same one you berated with your wealthy donors. Then it was the 99% and the 1%, remember being for and against before you were for and against? I bet you cant even count the CHANGE you have in your POCKETS!! especially the ones in the Cayman Islands and in your Swiss Accounts. Now Tim Pawlenty, is a lobbyist on Wall Street. Give Me A Break and Please You, Ann and your Boys Move to Switzerland or Wales, the home of your wealthy ancestors. Will they take you and Joseph Smith in Mexico? I doubt it!...RELEASE YOUR TAXES!! "George Romney...George Romney!!"

    September 21, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  7. Clyde Lemerle

    Obama's handling of the attacks in the Mideast has been incoherent and a failure.

    September 21, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  8. Mitt the Flipper

    So today Mitt says he wants to protect and strengthen medicare. Will it take more than two months for the flipster to reverse his thoughts on this?

    The only thing consistent about Mitt is that you can always count on him flip-flopping.

    September 21, 2012 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  9. Workhars03

    Why isn't this article more alongside the line as an Obama gaff just like they hammered Romney? He just said he couldn't change Washington from the inside. Hello??? The President just said he couldn't fix it???? This is terrible!!!!

    September 21, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  10. Brhino

    I don't know from outside to inside; but somebody better change something pronto, because this economic recovery we're having absolutely sucks.

    September 21, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  11. Greg

    Romney jumps more than he needs to. Obama is merely talking about the support from outside is needed for change. Another word he is saying politician can only act upon what public wants.

    September 21, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  12. cw

    Romney hates old people
    Romney hates veterans
    Romney hates women
    Romney hates Latinos
    Romney hates poor people

    Romney promises to add over 7 billion dollars worth of abuse, fraud, waste and overpayments to his buddies in health insurance back to Medicare Advantage

    September 21, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  13. alloydflanagan

    And again Romney takes the president's words out of context and tries to make them mean something different. This is apparently one of only two campaign strategies he knows. The other, of course, is shooting himself in the foot.

    September 21, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  14. Bill

    I just got notified in my email that my 2013 employer supplied healthcare costs (the portion paid by me) were going up dramatically, there will be less options as far as physicians, my co-pay for seeing a specialist went from $50 -$80, prescription benefits were cut dramatically, dental coverage was cut, less choice on primary care physicians, and the cost of my medical plan (the portion that is paid by my employer) will show up on my W2 as a taxable benefit. THANKS A LOT OBAMA

    September 21, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  15. William R. Hill

    A lot of the stuff Romney is saying contradicts some of his previous rants and/or doesn't even make sense. Putting together a couple of bad analogies, he's like a drowning man grasping at straws. His strategy seems to be, 'Trust me. I'll tell you how I'm going to accomplish all these wonderful things if you'll just let me be the president." Meanwhile, Obama has been in the hot seat for nearly four years, wrestling with some of the worst problems this nation has ever had – and making progress.

    September 21, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  16. Notadolt

    Obama's comment was meant to motivate those outside government- voters- to turn out in droves in November to ensure a Democratic Congress and White House that do not despise the middle class and will work together to solve national problems. If we fail to do this we will get a Republican government which, like Michigan Republicans, will impose tax hikes on pensioners on fixed incomes, wage a war on working families with children and change the public educational system so only the children of the wealthy receive quality education and opportunity. Michigan Republicans said one thing during campaign then once elected moved to screw the middle class. Smooth-talking Romney will do the same...

    September 21, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  17. Zach Posner

    At yesterday’s rally in Sarasota, Florida Romney attacked President Obama for saying in a Univision interview that “…you can’t change Washington from inside, only from the outside.” However, in his 2008 campaign, Governor Romney told reporters during a stop in Mt. Vernon, Iowa that he believed, ”I don’t think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside.” As President Clinton recently said “You gotta give him one thing, it takes some brass to attack a guy for doin’ what you did.”

    September 21, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  18. Pineapple58

    Somehow Mitt failed to mention that he made that same comment in his 2008 campaign. Now he feels like he can fix washington from the inside.

    September 21, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  19. Frank T

    From now until thre Nov 2012 Pres Elections, pleas tell Mitt that he must start using the Lie Detector Machine assigned to him. Why, because all Hard Working Americans are sick and tired of the lies that come out of his mouth.In Romney's world his cars get the Elevator and Middle America gets the Shaft.Mitt is and always will be an Ambulance chaser ,a corporate puppet. Romney the War monger, blatant Draft Dogger needs to take an extended vacation to visit his Buddies in China to discuss how many more American jobs China wants Mitt to send to them.

    September 21, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  20. Dan

    A more accurate statement would have been that "Washington will never change under the two party political system".

    September 21, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  21. Armyvet129

    Why does it have to be a new line of attack? Maybe it's just a different idea in a campaign season. Mitt Romney is a Presidential candidate with very different views on how to lead us out of the economic stagnation and a serious foreign policy issues that have plagued our current President. President Obama has a dismal record and he will be asked to defend it. It's not an attack and it's not personal, it's a job review and it's not going well for our current President.

    September 21, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  22. Joseph

    Romney again is taking things out of context and misinterpreting them. It makes me wonder if Romney were to become president, would he misinterpret briefings? Or is it that Romney knows what he is doing but is just an awful lying human being?

    September 21, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |

    It does not matter what Romney says ...He will change it and look at all the stuff he has said in the past as well lol

    September 21, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  24. Eric

    Mittens continues to sell fear and despair in his speeches. It works for some but not the many...

    September 21, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  25. Richie

    Wow. Romney was correct that 47% of people in America DON'T pay income tax.

    September 21, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
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