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. Yanni

    What a desperate man!

    September 20, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    All he and his cronies have done for a year is attack Obama.

    Tooo late for his ideas. He's too much of a liar about everything else. He WILL lie for votes.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    Early voting in less than 2 weeks

    September 20, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Mike

    I'm thinking not Mittens. It's great that you and the GOP war chest has opened the "lying" spigot full blast. I will vote Obama 2012. At least he has tried, he has made good progress, and even against all the hatred in the GOP we are pulling this nation out of a very dark depression. Go away...please.

    September 20, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  4. babooph

    Maybe Romney is lucky there is only 7 weeks left ,in 10 weeks he may be voting for Obama himself....

    September 20, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. spynnal

    Mr Romney, your campaign has been over and over all the things President Obama has not done well. We get your stance on that. Please start to tell the people what your vision is, what your plans are specifically, and what you are going to be able to do for the country. Your polls are slipping, and rehashing more attacks on Obama is not going to net new voters, as most still have no idea what your vision for solving the nations problems could possibly be. Still waiting to here even a base outline of your "replace" plan.

    September 20, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    "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."
    The quickest way to get Washington back to doing the work of a nation instead of the work of politics is to put in a Republican Senate to go along with the Republican House and a Romney/ Ryan administration. The message this will send to Obama is accountability. Promises not kept are not ignored after the money is spent.

    The message this will send to Mitt Romney will be a mandate to get the economy back up in growth mode, to make good on those 12 million new private sector jobs and to bring the federal government back on a solid financial footing for the good of our nation and a future that we can look forward to.

    September 20, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Romney has removed his political-enema hose in public and is now attempting to spray us all with his fetid mess.

    And millions of Teatards out in the electorate will respond by cheering 'horray!' and gladly opening their mouths......

    September 20, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. dave

    The big difference here is that Obama did not say anything secretly as romney did!!

    September 20, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  9. ryantorgeson

    Does anybody believe Romney anymore?

    September 20, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. onlyfacts

    I think Romney's campaign advisors and speech writers must be a bunch of nerds. To think this response to Obama's remarks would gain them anything is comical!

    September 20, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. Jason D

    Romney thinks you can change washington from the inside...the way congress has know congress, the ones with single digit approval ratings..the ones willing to blackmail america to get obama to do anything..the boehner ran pointless party who would let americans ratting drop rather then let the richest people in the country pay the same rate of taxc as the middle class...the rich have gotten richer over the last 10 years and yet not created jobs but the right want to give them more money...the oil companies get tax benefits even though they are the most profitable companies in the world.

    Romney is shouting at the moon because hes lost his way and people have heard the real romney and not the pr election campaign romney

    September 20, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  12. nolongerarepublican

    Working people who worship their rich masters are called Uncle Romneys.

    September 20, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Bill in NM

    The GOP is a joke now.It is bought and paid for by millionaires and corporations to do their bidding.
    Article about Mississippi today about how they are the poorest state, yet the vast majority are hard core republicans. It is amazing that these uneducated folks keep making their lives harder by voting GOP

    September 20, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. kurgen99

    Romney is hopeless. His attacks are lame and they aren't working.

    September 20, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Name

    Romney has no soul. He reacts instead of leading. He mimics in reverse everything the president says. Who is Romney? How did such a dark plutocrat gain any prominence with the people. Some Americans put party before country.

    September 20, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. JJ

    Why is Romney face getting browner? More of an orange brown. Does he still think he can win if he is Mexican?

    September 20, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. GreenEggsAndHam

    I have never posted before in news sites. But Romney's latest was such a classic BS that I had to say something.

    So GOP strategy seems to be – block everything Obama does, even if they agree with the action in principle; then ridicule Obama for giving up on them.

    Where did the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower disappear ?

    September 20, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. fremontsikh

    Romney is now like someone trapped in sinking sub-marine, gasping for air. How much more widely he has to take Obamas words out of context to show that he got nothing in his own head?

    September 20, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. JohnRJohnson

    The man has nothing to say about himself, so he makes stuff up about Obama.

    The worst presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime.

    September 20, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  20. Both_R_Losers

    Both of them are losers. If you vote for a Democrat or a Republican you are voting for the samething, political civil war on Americans. Both of them only care about themselves first, their party second, and their wealthy friends third. Don't waste your vote! Vote for an American.

    September 20, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Devon

    No, Not a rough patch, just a Stupid Ass Mormon.

    September 20, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. JohnRJohnson

    The worst presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime.

    September 20, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. A Desperate Situation

    Poor Romney, he is always reactive and never proactive. Just like a hungry dog at the back door waiting for a bone or a crumb. Romney has no plan, no substance and no moral core, he is hollow inside. This is the second Presidential election in a row that republicans blew it. President Bush actually cared about people and so did the elder President Bush. President Clinton, President Carter, cares about us and so does President Obama

    September 20, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Maxx

    The man is desperate. Going down in flames.

    September 20, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Ann Romney

    I don't think people will buy it. Let's try something else. We need to appeal to the libs like never before.

    PS: I sold a few stocks to pay for my shopping. I hope you don't mind. I also made some pasta and tuna.

    Love Ann.

    September 20, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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