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. Charles Nierras

    To Mr. Romney. I have a news for you....all of politician gets their job from the outside of Washington. It's called the PEOPLE. Do you understand? He doesn't mean that he cannot do it...but it is better that the PEOPLE who elected him in the first place be the one to say the things that needs done. And all politician can then go ahead in representing the PEOPLE. This is not CORPORATE where things happen from the inside out. This is a public office you are trying to get appointed and it works from the outside in. Hello!?

    September 20, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Dave in Arizona

    Sounds like a desperation swing from someone so far on the back foot that they're about to fall over.

    Mitt, 'ol boy, this is nothing like you dismissing 47% of Americans, including the very seniors you're trying to make promises to now. If there's one thing you have in common with Bush, it's that you're very good at digging a very deep hole.

    September 20, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Demigod Vadik, CA


    ...grasping for straws....

    September 20, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  4. af

    Romney: I am not worry about 47 states that will go for Obama, nor very poor people, me and Ryan we need 47 Millionaires and billionaires to give us millions. Coorperations are people.

    September 20, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Ron Brown

    Why does Willard "Mitt" Romney wear The American Flag pin on his lapel?... Pro Viet-Nam War Mitt, dropped out of college 1966-68 at the height of the war, yet lived in a Paris mansion as a "Religious Minister" instead of doing his patriotic duty. This was a time when thousands of truly loyal Americans were dying in this war. In 1994, Mitt admits that he "never wanted to be a soldier", yet reversed himself on this stance in 2007 as a then presidential candidate. Character is the one item that Mr. Romney cannot buy. The question that noone asks is again, "why does Willard "Mitt" Romney wear The American Flag pin on his lapel"?

    September 20, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. Leandro Huebner

    Grasping at straws Romney. You have already damaged yourself.

    September 20, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Matthew Jones

    So, Obama is saying that "We the People" need to take an active role in making our Politicians do their job? Isn't that what we are suppose to do, Mr. Romney?

    September 20, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  8. Cindy

    If Romney is going back 15 years to air a video of Obama speaking to the city, then it must be fair game to go back15 years and show the speeches Paul Ryan gave about the Russian "Ayn Rand. "

    September 20, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  9. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romney who can save America Postive!!

    September 20, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  10. The Left Wing

    So, Mitt's new attack is based on the premise that the Republicans are really good obstructionists and that if the President then takes his case for helping the country directly to the people, the President has done something wrong. Mitt, I don't think the American people are in a mood to support a candidate that wants more gridlock and more backroom deals.

    September 20, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. I wish I could be a republican

    O Romney ..well least he didn't write off half of America

    September 20, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. Lionel

    Mitt the Twit, Lying Ryan a nd Juan Percent. This election will be remembered for Robme the gaffeoholic.

    This man should not be given the keys to the white house. Juan Percent is your new name....

    Obama 2012

    September 20, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. jonathan mcclain

    Wow, why do mad people wanna give obama a hard time? I know it's a campain but say sumthin about yourself and what you WANT to do.

    September 20, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. JS

    Next time President Obama asks for change, please ask him to specify exactly what the change is. Because change ranges from change to best situation to ruining the country.

    September 20, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. Squigman

    Desperate is, as desperate does.

    September 20, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  16. Dave

    OK. Robmey admits he does not believe that the people drive change from outside of Washington. So NOW he believes that government inside of Washington is the answer. How many sides of his face can he speak from? He exhibits no understanding of the average American whatsoever.

    September 20, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Indy

    Romney is just plain old out of gas, he has nothing to offer on his own, just the same old bash Obama tactic that he has done for seven very long years. Mitts Too Little Too Late just has nothing left except tax break for the wealthy, and he obviously knows nothing about how Washington works if he thinks he can walk in and make a difference just because he's Mitts Romney #47

    September 20, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  18. Konrad Jarecki

    This will be a great presentation. I know Mitt Romney can do it! Speaking the truth to America

    September 20, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. uzo

    So much for I wamt to stick to talking about jobs only

    September 20, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. judy

    romney is a trud set afloat by his own remarks. Now he is grasping at anything to trash the president. You are an old fool and the debates will do you in. Forward

    September 20, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  21. ImWEBSPY

    I think the GOP is doing a social experiment, see if they can take our money, job, home, cars, give them to the banks and their friends.

    Then when were really good and poor get us to vote for a millionaire Mormon who calls us all a bunch of losers to win!

    September 20, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. LegalizeReason

    This is beyond blind flailing. I guess if you have solutions to problems you just have your staff review every word that your opponent says and present it, out of context, to your adoring knee jerk fans in front of the camera. America is not buying what you are selling, Mitt, and neither is your own party, many members of which are heading for the exits to avoid being sucked down by the the vortex of the SS Romney/Ryan on election night.

    September 20, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. shindigg

    too funny, today the corporate media (including cbs top of the hour news and bottom of the update) is playing mitt robbed me dissing obama about "central planning" and about "bad economy" with no response from obama campaign...for the obama parts of their reporting, they keep every 1/2 hour talking about what was obama's biggest FAILURE is, one of the questions he was asked at a hispanic event he talked there's your corporate media all on board with gov. etch a skietch's has started his flp-flop come back tour...obama, dall day long, the reporting is about his FAILURE....liberal media? yea, right!...

    September 20, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. littleone

    Well Mr.Romney
    Your right but the President was trying to unite with the Republicans it took him a while to realize they won't work with him .
    No matter what he brought up they wouldn't vote for it or else they filibuster it.

    September 20, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. ShawnDH

    Good God Romney is so desperate. It's sad to watch. He is the most pathetic candidate in modern presidential politics.

    September 20, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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