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. NameJan Washington

    Mitt is all about himself and rich American rich people he will say anything to get in office. Let's not forgot George w plan to let wall street handle social security ha few months later we had a resecission

    September 20, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. A not-so-stupid former republican

    I see that Romney's lying has not diminished! Does any want a pathological liar for any elective office especially President of the United States. I hope not!

    September 20, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. bradley

    what is wrong with cnn mitt is the only won to turn this around

    September 20, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Jayvin

    Romney took it totally out of context. Imagine that.

    September 20, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. patw

    Romney is starting to look insane.

    September 20, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. shane

    He knows he's about to loose in a landslide.

    September 20, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Cederico

    Romney is desperate. Plain and simple. He has to try and win by distortion. It's really sad to witness.

    September 20, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. DENNA

    Romney, are you serious? Just keep bringing up this crap. You won't get my attention until I know what the consequence of electing you will be. You get more unappealing every day.

    September 20, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. F386

    Romney sounds so sad and lost

    September 20, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. Steve

    Can someone explain to me what is meant by changing Washington from the "inside" and "outside"? It seems to me that changing Washington from the inside means that the Republicans and Democrats in congress will work together to get things done, but I'm not sure that's right. How is Washington changed from the outside? By people voting or pressuring their congressman to do something? I wish that this article was more detailed with specifics from the candidates.

    September 20, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. Apocalyptic Fart Blaster

    And 47% of Americans already don't care. Keep digging Romney may you end up in China with a new job.

    September 20, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  12. AmericanWaxwing

    AMEN, Mitt.

    September 20, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. Terence

    Adam Smith: The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever.

    September 20, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. TIm

    Romney's desperation is too obvious.

    September 20, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. phhd

    Willard is a sales man who will say anything to make the sale. He has no convition or moral values.

    September 20, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. DeTamble

    In about seven more weeks we wont have to listen to this lying turd anymore.
    Then he can go back to playing monopoly with real money.

    September 20, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. Justin

    Does this guy have an off button? Can't wait till this thing is over!! Adios Mitt

    September 20, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. jeansees

    Mr Romney is spouting fairy dust again.. all his claims what he will do... but HOW he never says HOW!!!! His philosphy is tell em what they want to hear and do what he wants later!!! Flip Flop flip Flop... like a Fish out of water!!!!

    September 20, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  19. sarabourhodes

    What a desperate, little man.

    September 20, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. yogi

    This man is getting more disgusting by the day. What a nerve, to hide all his lies and flip flopping.

    September 20, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. sarabourhodes

    What a desperate little man.

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

    blablabla I don't think I will ever trust a single word coming from this man

    September 20, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. Majesty Rider

    President Obama is right. There are too many career politicians and only the voters can change that. Therefore, that would be from the outside, not the inside.

    September 20, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. TB

    NO! Please tell me you are not using that for your next line of attacks? Since you like firing people Mittens, I think its time to fire the people that are advising you on what to do because from where I'm sitting, they are not good at what they do?!!! Leave it alone.....better yet, just drop out now.

    September 20, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. Yolie Scott

    Romney, you need to go back home wherever you live, or just go to the islands and visit your money. If you were really worried about the US, why do you have your money off shore – your money should be in the US so that you can pay your fair amount of taxes. First you say you are not worried about the 47% of the people, now you are for 100% of the people – which is it. I would hate to think what lies and damage you will do tomorrow because you are a failure of a candidate, I guess that is why your own party didn't you to be the candidate.

    September 20, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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