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. appa

    He thinks he can fix it from inside because people's choice or demand are not that important to him. Anyone with a quarter brain knows 'outside' here means 'public' and their choice!

    September 20, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. DrIncognitus

    Since Obama made it very clear that "change form the outside" means getting the support of the American people for the change, the only conclusion can be that Romney is saying that the American people should stay quiet if they disagree with what he wants.

    September 20, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. Groundfog

    Romney, campaigning against longtime Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2007, took the opposite position . "So he certainly has political skill, but I believe that at this time, to change Washington, it would be helpful to have somebody who comes with more private sector skill, experience outside Washington. I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside."

    September 20, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. PixieDust

    Romney is hopeless. Obama did not surrender to anyone. He simply stated the obvious. It's impossible to change Washington from the inside. Too much entrenched inertia. It will take voters to change the complexion of Washington and this November we will begin that process by voting out Republicans.

    September 20, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Huh?

    Romney is not so bright is he? I get it. Why can't he? Obama was just trying to tell his supporters to go out and vote. Yes, we the people from the "outside control" what happens in Washington because we vote for those in office. Romney twisted this statement to somehow suggest a weakness on Obama's part. It was a play on words and either a low blow twist or a sign of his limited intelligence. Either way, he missed the mark.

    September 20, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. peggy munro

    This is a soap opera to end all soap operas. What a joke.

    September 20, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  7. Brian

    The problem with Romney is that he thinks washington CAN change itself. Or at least he would like to convince the voters of that.

    September 20, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. The Independent

    Romney has his head to far up where the sun don't shine he can't even change his own underwear much less Washington.

    September 20, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  9. Huh?

    As well, Obama was encouraging people to advocate for their concerns. See, Romney thinks those in Washington should hold the upper hand. Sounds anti-conservative to me. Aren't they supposed to be all about smaller government and putting the power back in the people's hands?

    September 20, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  10. nj

    This man doesn't have a clue what to say or what to do unless it is scripted. He constantly makes mistakes when he talks without his script and/or talking points. Can't believe anyone would vote for him.

    He's a flip flopper and says anything to get himself ahead. No morals or a heart.

    September 20, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. Name

    why would erin burnett in todays program argue that a peaceful sign simply stating 'Stop Jihad Now', or words to that effect, would be so deliterious to peace, that she considered in 'beyond-polite'. This implying that she would rather the matter of soverinty be swept under the rug?

    September 20, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Winston5

    Flop-sweat, thy name is Mitt.

    September 20, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. Jen

    Obama's campaign has always been about public involvement, about getting the people of our nation to make change from the outside by writing their congressman and by getting involved – this is still a cornerstone of his campaign and his belief – that government belongs to the people and that making change is hard and takes effort from all of us – that is why Obam often appeals to the American people to write their congressmen. This is what Obama means when he says change comes for the outside – I think Romney jumping on this as a white flag is rather pathetic – Is Romney saying that the belief in a democracy and a government run by the people and for the people is some kind of a surrender? It is the cornerstone of our founding.

    September 20, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. USwatcher

    Meanwhile...Tim Pawlenty...Romney campaign co-chair...says that's it...I now Pawlenty is headed to where the buck be a Wall Street lobbyist. Romney is wrong for Pawlenty...Romney is just wrong for America.

    September 20, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. Greg

    As usual Mitt misses the point. This is about the American people not Mitt Romney.

    September 20, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  16. Pete

    Why don't the genuine Mormon moron talk about his Mexican relatives,scared you might be identified with Latinos!!You did say in Miami it would be better if he were,didn't ya...But remember the Hispanics of Cuba,mainly Miamis immigrent residents are not welcomed by the Latinos,Chicanos of Mexico,don't get them mixed up,they don't like each other,like oil and water they don't mix...You want a cultural war just put two different types of the Spanish ethnicity together,boy two hot heads in one room disasterous!!I know this may raise eyebrows from some people but I'm calling them what they want to be called not their actual names or description,so if there's any problems I apologize,just relating actual terms,something republicans fail to relate to!!

    September 20, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. G'Man

    This man, Romney, is a poorly told joke. His platform is pointless... without legs. He refuses to surrender to the facts. I support Obama and, yes, I know he's not kept all of his promises, but who ever does? I don't think this is an issue of the 'lesser of two evils,' but rather a case of being realistic. Romney is about profit... his. Do we really want to find out the hard way?

    September 20, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. ST

    Romney 2007 "I don't think you change Washington from the inside. I think you change it from the outside."

    Romney 2012 "I will change Washington and I will do it from the inside when you elect me on Nov. 6."

    That man will say absolutely anything!

    September 20, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. SafeJourney

    You know Romney is out of his league when the Republican leadership and commentator are taking him to task. It is just ignorance and stupidity on Mitts part. Desperation is written all over Romney's face and Romney's campaign Romney and Lyin Ryan are done.

    September 20, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  20. SensibleVoice108

    One of the key reason why economy is suffering is that our policies today makes it very unattractive for investors to consider US as a potential destination for investment. our policies are increasingly union friendly and business unfriendly, we believe in redistribution of wealth and not in creation of new wealth, we have to be apologetic for being successful.

    Why would an investor consider investing in US against all these odds? His/her ROI is much better elsewhere whee they are offering tax incentives, trouble free labor and much smoother environment to do business. This is why the jobs are not coming back to US.

    We have to rediscover the entrepreneur spirit that built US. Government should be supportive of the businesses and not treat businesses as their arch enemies.

    September 20, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. ted

    oh Mittens, your new line of attack is stupid and moronic and the subject is bland. Get over it, mr etch a sketch, out of touch with normal people.

    September 20, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  22. Blake

    I applaud Mitt for literally trying everything and seeing what sticks. Obama is a sure thing as long as Mitt Romney is talking about things other than the economy. It may be too late to gather himself and get on message. The debates are going to be make or break for him.

    September 20, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. Andrew Thomas

    Screw you Mitt Romney for cheating at the RNC. You are a liar and a cheater and a bully, nobody likes you.

    September 20, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  24. Knoll

    Just the facts. Obama is spending $40,000 per second and has been for almost four years. This is why he has spent 6 trillion dollars during his term. WE now owe 16 trillion. Before Obama we owed 10 trillion. By 2016 under another Obama term we will be 22.5 trillion in debt. *See below for calculations. We've had two credit down grades in the past year. Our Federal reserve keeps printing more money. Forbes magazine states that by 2032 (at our current rate) it will take 150 dollars to purchase the same basket of goods 100 (2012) dollars can buy today. That is a 50% increase in the price level over 20 years. Do not expect any increases in wages over the next 10 to 20 years because the number of jobs will continue to decrease every year. The demand will not be for labor so business won't meet any new demands from labor.

    I hope I've explained this in plain language. If not then here it is. Vote for Obama you will vote your children into extreme third world poverty. It is that simple.

    What to do if Obama is elected? Buy gold, buy guns buy property that has water available to drink (a well or spring). Learn how to garden and be self sufficient. Teach your children how to survive without today's luxuries. Keep at least a year's worth of food and have someplace to sleep out of the weather that you own so that the govt. cannot take it from you. Best to have a small plot of land you own so you can grow food. Also, very important, keep enough gold to buy a ticket out of here if things get really bad. Get your passport and keep it up to date. Have a plan.

    *I got 22.5 trillion by calculating the current spending level under Obama which is 6 trillion over 4 years. Currently he has no plan to stop the spending and has not had a budget for four years so I think it is safe to assume another 6 trillion. So that takes us from today's 16 trillion to 22 trillion. Plus it is calculated to cost 2.6 trillion a decade for Obamacare. You heard me do your research. So I estimated 500 billion in healthcare costs for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 although I believe it will be twice this rate.

    Good luck to you. You don't have to believe me just please be safe so your children will not suffer anymore then they have to. Be prepared for the worst. You will begin to see the downfall by the end of 2013 if we see no big changes in today's spending and dollar printing.

    September 20, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. racegirl1

    You will have a chance to be in the White House either when pigs fly or you buy a ticket. No way Mitt the Twit and Lying Ryan. Obama-Biden 2012.

    September 20, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
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