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. connieb

    "I will change Washington and I will do it from the inside when you elect me on Nov. 6."

    Guess we'll never know, huh Mitt?–cuz you will never be there.

    September 20, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. mhklein

    Obama is absolutely right. You can't change Washington from the outside. If Obama is re-elected, I hope he will build enough public pressure on Congress to force it to act constructlvely.

    September 20, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. Linda

    Romney, you change every day. We have no idea who you are and why on earth are you running for President? If Amercia can't figure out just who are you and what position you have from day to day, just think how confused the international world is. Go home. You can not be our President nor the world leader.

    September 20, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  4. Robble

    This guy, Romney, he's a big baby and a bully. I remember guys like him in eight grade.

    September 20, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Emmittkitty

    Face it...Romney's campaign is a mess and they will do anything and say anything to try and repair a sinking ship. Who would ever take a desperate Romney at his

    September 20, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. Ric Enriquez

    Mitt Romney, no doubt is an honorable man but he cannot identify with people like me. I don't think he (mitt) understands what the average person on the street has to do to put food on the table, roof above the head and other necessities of life. I suggest he put himself on a $50,000 yearly living budget and let us see how he does supporting a family of six specially here in south orange county, California.

    September 20, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. T'sah From Virginia

    ►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.◄

    LMAO – Yet for the past 18 months, Romney claims that HE IS the outsider and he will go to Washington to CHANGE IT!!! Silly RobMe – When I look at him speak, he does not look BELIEVABLE anymore – the wrinkles in his forehead really stands out now – Paul Lyan's too!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    September 20, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. Matt

    don't get it twisted. Obama sees the value in the democratic process and the power of the people to create change. I don't need Romney going in and making changes that people aren't asking for. Obama let's the people speak. THAT is what we need.

    September 20, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. Mikewonder84

    I may be mistaken, but I think what the President was saying is that he finally woke up and realized he was naive to think he could bring politicians together to solve the nation's problems ...He could say the sky is blue and the Republicans in Congress would spend all day calling him a liar .. I hope he has finally come to that realization , that the playground politics preferred by the Right (and some of the Left) isn't exactly conducive to team problem solving ... At any rate its painfully obvious the Romney campaign is grasping .. desperation is a bad cologne... this seemingly outlandish concept of representative government is probably a bit difficult for Mitt to grasp .. after all, he is only concerned with 53 % of the nation ...

    September 20, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. craig

    It is true that Obama didn't do what he was voted in to do, which is to create change. That's what the American public voted him in for. Instead, he focused on trying to get bipartisan approval for everything. Bipartisanship will never change so long as people have opinions. Obama spent the first 4 years trying to change human nature. If he gets re-elected, he needs to set out to truly change the things that he was voted in to change, which is not human nature. Only by respecting the voters who voted him in by doing what they voted him in to do will he actually bring about the change he promised. As much of a jerk as Bush was, and as dumb as he appeared, he was strong enough to do things his way. And you know what, Americans voted him in, so his actions are justified through them. What I want to hear from Obama is: "The first 4 years, I spent too much time trying to change politics and human nature, hoping that by working together, Republicans and Democrats can do more than working separately. But I've tried very hard to make that happen, and this term, I will set that aside, because maybe some things can't be changed, and I'm open to that possibility. Now it's time to do things our way." He needs to change his campaign slogan to "Now is the time..."

    September 20, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. n

    "I will do this, I can do that" Is this guy for real? Are you people seriously considering this guy for president of these united states of America? He as hollow as they come. Romney has proven over and over and over again that he is flawed beyond repair. Romney has shown us his "Etch-A-Scetch moments time and time again. Romney refuse to show his taxes, he refuse to give the details as to what he will do to save this economy, of which, he turn a blind eye to his republican buddies obstruction and sabotaging of this economy but yet they and he, constantly point the finger at President Barack Obama. Why is this man being held up and carried forward? It is clear that he can't make it to the finish line on his own. What a weak and sickly president Mitt the twit will make.

    September 20, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. td40

    Seriously? That's it? That's Romney's new plan of attack? Obama is quite clearly saying "I came in as an outsider and that's how I've got this done or that done in office" and Mitt is trying to twist that into "I'm no longer an outsider. I'm inside now, so I'll never get anything done again." Laughable. It's getting downright sad watching Mitt grasping at straws.

    September 20, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    Nation now knows what is he standing for. 1%. Nation is not that stupid to send him to WH. Obama12.

    September 20, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    i will vote for you mitt

    September 20, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. Amazed

    Is this the best this republican bafoon can come up with??? Mitts has zero chance of winning this election......

    September 20, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  16. Equity?

    If Romney makes an unchecked remark, and it is exploited by the Obama campaign, the media focus is on Romney the gaffemister. If Obama makes an unchecked remark, and it is exploited by the Romney campaign, the media focus is on Romney the attackmister. Where's the objectivity in your "news" coverage?

    September 20, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Sueb

    Nothing new here, just more Romney lies.

    September 20, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Lt

    Sounds familar? Pot calling kettle black methinks!!!
    "I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside"
    Mitt Romney 2007.

    September 20, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. liberty89

    Sound off is terrible. Comment sections need a ranking system.

    September 20, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. voter

    Romney, you will say ANYTHING to get elected. Please, do me a favor and go on one of your wealthy yachts in France and leave the presidency alone. We all see you as you really are. GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    September 20, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Andrea Sharp

    Romney that is why you are not going to be president. You remember the phrase "we the people". I believe Obama has it right. It is not about you. You will only change what congress allows you to change.

    September 20, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Bill

    Mitt Romney just declared himself the ultimate insider today. Obama thinks that government should communicate more directly with Americans outside of Washington, DC. Apparently, Romney doesn't agree with that.

    September 20, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. SPQR

    Can Mitt Romney come up with something to say that is actually not so self serving ?

    September 20, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. Two and the door for House Republicans!!!

    This idiot said the exact same thing in 2007!! I mean really!!

    September 20, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. American

    As a Registered Republican, I got sick of my own Party that I was proud to be. And have my voting card to prove it.
    I got sick of the garbage my own party has been dishing out for the past 4 years, When my party decided to un-seat Obama from the White House in January 2009. I had enough of Sean Hannity, Rush Libaugh and the rest. My own Party decided to sacrifice US all for their own sake, They said let the people loose their houses, jobs and we will blame it on Obama.
    Well we didn't care who governed once the elections where over, we just wanted to be able to put food on our table and work to earn a decent paycheck. If the Republican Party ( my own party ) had won in 2008, I would have expected the same from the Democratic Party to give our President Elect a chance.

    September 20, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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