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. Jeb

    Mitt Romney for President.......................of the 1%.

    September 20, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. jon

    Romney sounds like an idiot and is desperate to attack Obama on anything he says. Obama is correct, he can't change Washington from the inside because Boehner and the do nothing Republican'ts won't pass anything Obama has sent to them. So Obama said the change must come from the outside which means the voters can change congress by voting and pressuring their representatives to pass crucial legislation to help the economy. Romney again has shown he is out of touch.

    September 20, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Jeckers

    "Changing from the outside" sounds like we are giving a pass to all of our Washington insiders. Aren't all of these officials that we elect – paid for what they do? We elected them and pay them to change Washington – we've already done our part, it's their job to do theirs. If they can't effect a change – why did we vote them in and what are we paying for?

    We, the people, voted them into office to make the change and to be our voice in the government. And our President says Washington can only be changed from the outside? The only way it can change from the outside is based on how we vote – that's it.

    This comment from Obama is very enlightening – by claiming "change from the outside" – he is placing the blame on the state of our government on every American citizen. You can't make this stuff up.....

    September 20, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. freddie nerk

    Romney is a joke. And a bad one at that. Time to throw in the towel and go back to your Tax haven home.

    September 20, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. fremontsikh

    Romney is like someone trapped in sinking submarine.

    September 20, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    I smell desperation Willard......once again taking the presidents words out of context. Jeez guy when will you learn???

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 20, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. Mike

    Romney has found another tangent to go off on. If he could stick to the economy and give some specifics besides "I'll tell you after I'm elected", he might at least be worth listening to. As it is, he appears to be all over the map, throwing crap one minute and rotten food the next, anything and everything in the hope he'll eventually find something that sticks to Obama. Does he have a plan or is this Nixon part 2?

    September 20, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. fremontsikh

    Romney is like someone trapped in sinking submarine, gasping for every breath they can get. How much more widely he has to take out statements out of context for republicans to see that he got nothing to offer them.

    September 20, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Lisa P

    Isn't Mitt clever! Perhaps he should give up trying to be President so he can display his true talent: snarking. He could post here to his heart's content. He could criticize the President all day every day for everything and anything and no one would give him a second's worth of grief about it. You can't buy that kind of freedom, not with $100 million, as Mitt well knows.

    September 20, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Troy

    Change from outside means he is going to (try to) mobilize the people to put pressure on congress. Nice try Mitt, but transparently trying to turn the tables is not going to fly.

    September 20, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Facts don't Lie

    part of Romney's problem is all he does is ATTACK!! After a while even if you're a Romney supporter that line of campaigning starts to get tiresome. Before the campaign officially started I recall Jeb Bush saying that Romney needs to do far more than just go after the president if he wants to win this election. Romney has no new ideas than lowering taxes on the wealthy, cutting social programs for the less than wealthy, giving more tax breaks to corporations and will not really get into specifics of even what those will be. The attacks only work on those that were not going to vote for Obama anyway and enjoy listening to him getting bashed other than that the polling shows they are not working.

    September 20, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    I won't even read the artical , romney the tax cheat and the gop bafoons party is done ,done,finished !!!!!!

    September 20, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. usualone

    Romney doesn't know obviously how Washington works. He won't be surrounded only by "yes" men/women should he become President.

    September 20, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. bj

    Mr. Romney shouldn't criticize anyone. Didn't this man just speak at an event where the coal miners were required to attend and not even be compensated for their attendance? I have never seen any presidential candidate in recent times who was so arrogant and have such disdain for those less fortunate than he.

    September 20, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. lil

    So romney where are your ideas other than attacking. You havent shown the us anything that you would do. The only thing you is attack. You even attacked 3/4 of America because they are not wealthy. We are use to the attacks, but what are you going to do. We are waiting.

    September 20, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Name lueforte@gmail

    Just cant see how Romney wins.

    September 20, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. jparker

    I despise Romney.

    September 20, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. SAM

    IIf you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    September 20, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. David in Seattle

    Give it up already, Mitt. If you have nothing better to say than to argue semantics, just sit down and be quiet.

    September 20, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. Harald

    In his desperate attempt to find something against Obama, Romney and cohorts try to pick apart each single word Obama speaks.
    What about coming up with a clear and detailed action plan that shows why somebody should vote for Romney instead of Obama ?

    September 20, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |

    Go Romney

    September 20, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  22. Jack

    That's it Mitt !! let's start kicking some a** already ... pick up the pace & keep hammering away !!

    September 20, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  23. Alex White

    Wow, talk about comprehension fail. Mitt's new line of attack is proving he doesn't only not connect with people, but also with his general listening comprehension.

    Obama clearly said the American people bring the change from without – Mitt reiterated it then dove head first into the empty deep end.

    He MUST have been handed his money, because he keeps moving towards Sarah Palin on the intelligence meter.

    September 20, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. Jayne

    He boasts about wanting to lower federal income taxes for the middle class, then berates that same middle class when they have no federal tax liability. This man has no shame, he'll throw poo anywhere as long as some of it sticks.

    September 20, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. bradley

    i think mitt romney whold be the man to run this country

    September 20, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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