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. aalisa31

    Omg.. I can't wait to hear what Mitt will say tommorrow.... it's a new lie everyday.. he is really giving the republicans a bad name!

    Romney, campaigning against longtime Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2007, took the opposite position . "So he certainly has political skill, but I believe that at this time, to change Washington, it would be helpful to have somebody who comes with more private sector skill, experience outside Washington. I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside."

    Nevertheless, it was fresh fodder for Romney.

    September 20, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Anthony Seta

    Oh wow.... a new line of attack from the Romney campaign. Is this supposed to be the persuasive opening that they've been searching for? The 14-year old audio clip must not be panning out as planned by the GOP war-room establishment. At this point, It's painfully obvious that the campaign will be grabbing at headlines and daily events over the next 40+ days to somehow get back to even in the polls. How can a campaign for the challenger be performing so poorly with so many structural advantages? I don't comprehend it. Neither do most political scientists. I still think that Romney has the advantage in this race to the WH with all of that secret donor money and the lingering condition of the economy. But it is just amazing how inept this Republican campaign has performed to date with so much advantage.

    So... safe to assume that when this new line of attack gets tiring by late Friday night, new lines of attack with emerge over the weekend. So it goes...

    September 20, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. LoLo

    Mittens has really lost his kittens. The President is correct in his assumption. We the people will make the changes by getting out there and voting. Congress has hijacked the United States Of America. We the people have a say and we must vote them out. They know who they are and they are on their toes too little too late. Romneyhood can nit pick all he wants, but he is not the person to oversee the free world. He is truly a businessman. He thinks that the Americans are one of his clients and will try to close the deal any way he can. We are not corporations. Let this man stay in the private sector where he belongs and we can only hope and pray that he stays there.

    September 20, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. Ken

    I King Tabby Nackle bishop Mittster have the same chance of winning this thing as the mormons in Salt Lake Appoing a Black Elder, 0. !!!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. LoLo

    Mitt Romney is a man of many faces and we as Americans do not have time for these games he is playing. Let's move forward and let Mitt Romney figure out who he is on his own time.

    September 20, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Bootstomper

    Mr Romney is really looking like he's going to crack up.

    September 20, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. john

    The election is over. Obama is ahead in 6 battleground states. The thought of Latino's voting for Romney at this point is laughable. Guy is a clod, stay home Mitt.

    September 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. Josaphat Daniels

    What is wrong with this phony millionaire, so now your message is – look at what the President said, he said this , he said that and what President Obama said is absolutely correct, change can never come from the gridlock that is caused by selfish politicians who only look out for their party instead of looking out for the people that elected them. Mr (47 percent in job creation and careless of the 47 percent people) is only doing this because he knows that he has exposed his secret and is looking for dirt on the President so that he could get some of the baggage that he has placed on himself and throw it at the President. No one is fooled by this act except him and his blind supporters.

    September 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Mark

    Well that line of attack...if you can call it that is going nowhere. How long has the GOP been touting the need to get rid of Washington "insiders". This looks like wild flailing by a seriously disoriented candidate who thought he would get to play offense the entire campaign and as a result can't play any defense. Too bad no one ever told Mitt that defense wins championships and if you can't play any defense you can't get elected.

    September 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. pbernasc

    Romney will have to limit himself to be on the outside ... poor sucker

    September 20, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    This guy is a joke. It's amazing to think that there are people stupid enough to vote for Romney. But then again, it's not so amazing when you take into account how stupid Republican voters are.

    September 20, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. tffl

    I guess he's reached the point of just flinging everything he can think of against the wall and hoping _something_ sticks?

    September 20, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. Hans Neukomm

    Some of the comments from democrats are so charming. I'm glad i'm not one of them.

    September 20, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Romney Campaign Is Over

    Regardless of what lie Romney is now telling economists agree that the Ryan Budget Plan, supported by Romney, would essentially kill Medicare. Rich people don't want Medicare or Social Security so Romney would try to kill both.

    He's never said how he'll pay for ANYTHING... not his low taxes for the rich, not a defense budget bigger than the Pentagon wants, not his ROMNEYCARE/OBAMACARE(same thing)... nothing! He's also never shown us his tax returns but instead – just wants us to "trust him"... Obviously independent voters don't trust him – look at the polls!

    September 20, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. bb

    I can't believe BO said "that's how the big accomplishments like health care got done, was because we mobilized the American people to speak out." Obamacare is still universally despised. It was passed, despite the vast majority of Americans rejecting it, with backdoor deals and on completely partisan lines. you cannot get anymore inside than that. Next, clueless BO will be telling us that the attack in Libya had no terrorist connections despite what the defense dept says. Oh wait..

    September 20, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Jim

    Romney is a desparate candidate who will say anything, make a mountain out of any molehill, to try to turn the tide. It won't work! The American people don't like him or his flip-flopping stances on every issue.

    September 20, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. manhandler

    THAT'S a new line of attack. THAT"S IT????? Why even print a headline like that? Most everyone agrees that unless Congress gets pressure from the people, nothing will get done. Wow! Better look for another line.

    September 20, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Tom

    Any businessman knows the implementation of change always comes from the outside. How many companies did Bain take over and implement change from the inside? The changes Bain made came from Bain, and the companies either successfully changed or were taken out of business by Bain. Obviously Gov. Romney has forgotten his own basic rule.

    September 20, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. Chipster

    What the President said is simply accurate. The only way to make change in Washington is to get voters to elect representatives who will work together to accomplish something, instead of blocking everything – even the legislation they write and support. Republicans voted down a jobs bill yesterday that several of them actually wrote portions and then those Senators voted against it. The jobs bill would have helped our veterans to get more jobs and Republicans wouldn't even support that because they want the President to fail – never mind that it hurts veterans, farmers suffering from drought damage, and the economy. Voters need to pay attention to the fact that Republicans have wasted 2 years on 39 attempts to repeal the ACA, gay marriage, and abortion while the nation goes begging for jobs legislation! Throw them OUT!

    September 20, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. rad666

    Right now I am thinking an empty chair could beat Obama and Romney.

    September 20, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  21. Cheese Wonton

    Mr. Romney is a desparate man indeed. This line of attack is about as weak as they come.

    September 20, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  22. CAWinMD

    Terrific. Romney wants to bring back the imperial presidency. Just another nail in his coffin...

    September 20, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. Josaphat Daniels

    Obviously, this lunatic is desperate and is beginning to lose it, ever since that leaked video that exposed him for the fraud
    that he is, he is now desperate to even the score. Unfortunately for him the President is not as coo coo and loony tunes as he is. What happened to the redistribution tape that he was blabbering about it seems it's not working so now he is trying this one to see if it sticks and if it doesn't stick I wonder what he will try next, only mudslinging will get him as far as the gop party nomination but never the Presidency.

    September 20, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |

    Romney thinks about half of America worthless – those who expect something from the government they've supported throughout their lives and in many situations, defended on the battlefield. Romney clearly stated he can do nothing for "those people" – the 47% he thinks of as inferior to the rest of the folks. He's such a pampered rich boy he doesn't even know when he's insulting Americans. He's so accustomed to automatically getting his way he's oblivious to the lives and sensitivities of working people. Romney got his wealth the old fashioned way... his daddy gave it to him. Some people can handle wealth without becoming a spoiled brat – Romney is not one of those people. His campaign is finished.

    September 20, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. James

    Was going to vote Romney 2012 until I just saw NBC evening news Brian Williams that the Republicans will not make a decision on the farm bill until after election. 1st time in my 45 yr life I'll be voting Democrat. Sorry Republicans but you brought this on yourselves !

    September 20, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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