Obama flips the argument, says Romney aspires for 'inside job'
September 21st, 2012
01:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama flips the argument, says Romney aspires for 'inside job'

(CNN) - President Barack Obama hit back against Mitt Romney's latest attack on Friday while defending his earlier argument that Washington cannot be changed from the "inside."

On Thursday, the GOP presidential nominee pounced on Obama's initial comments from a presidential forum on the Spanish-language network Univision.

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"The most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside," Obama said. "You can only change it from the outside."

Within hours, Romney was on the attack. The White House hopeful peppered a Sarasota, Florida speech with references to Obama's Univision remark, saying the president had essentially given up on his 2008 ideals of "hope" and "change."

"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 said to an audience of several thousand. "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."

It didn't take long for the president to respond. While speaking at a noontime campaign rally in Woodbridge, Virginia on Friday, Obama unleashed a series of new lines pounding Romney over the Republican's reaction.

Defending his comment, Obama argued he was saying you can't change Washington "just" from the inside and took issue with Romney's claim that the Republican nominee could get the job done, himself.

The president blasted Romney's goal as a naive "inside job."

"What kind of inside job is he talking about? Is it the job of rubber stamping the top-down, you-are-on-your-own agenda of this Republican Congress? Because if it is we don't want it. If it is the job of letting oil companies write our energy policy, we don't want it. If it's the job of outsources writing our tax code, we don't want it," Obama said, as the Virginia crowd cheered. "If it is the job of letting politicians decide who you can marry or control the health care choices that women should be able to make for themselves – we'll take a pass."

He continued; "We don't want an inside job in Washington. We want change in Washington."

– CNN's Ashley Killough, Rachel Streitfeld and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. CB FL

    Its hard to have a battle of wits with a unarmed man. "Willard"

    September 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Are You Mental?

    Stealy Dan: We cannot afford another 4 years of Obama. And he needs to quit trying to blame everything on Bush. When Bush came to office in Jan 2001, the debt was $5.7T. When he left after 8 years, the debt was $10.6T...an increase of $4.9T (which I'm also not happy about). But since Obama took office, he has taken the debt from $10.6T to $16.0T in just 3.5 years...an increase of $5.4T!!!

    It's nice to finally see a Republican take responsibility for at least some of the debt that Bush made. But you must be mental if you think that the minute George Bush walked out the door on 01/20/2009 that the policies he put in place that doubled the debt ceased to exist. In fact, the policies that Bush put in place like the 2 tax cuts and the 2 unfunded wars are the biggest reason that the deficit has risen so much. Republicans refuse to let President Obama raise revenues (let the Bush tax cuts expire), so the debt just keeps getting bigger. Republicans are also criticizing Obama for not extending Bush's wars and even criticize that we should be doing more in other parts of the world (Syria, etc.). Do you think that is going to lower the deficit?

    Are you so dense that you don't see a correlation between what Bush had already done and the continual rising of the debt? It really shows the height of stupidity that Republicans blame Obama for all the debt that can be directly attributed to the Bush policies.

    Where were all you Republicans worried about the debt now when Bush raised the debt ceiling 7 times? The ignorance and the hypocrisy of it all is just stunning.

    September 21, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Andrea Sharp

    YOU tell that clown again Mr. President

    September 21, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. ll

    Romney is the absolute worst candidate the GOP has thrown out there – ever.

    The GOP is dead. The Tea Party is no answer. If the Independents can't produce candidates, I'll be voting (D) from here on out – and I had been a Republican for over 30 years.

    September 21, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. "Great" Republican

    Poor Robme. This guy is such a pandered, if Obama said teh sky was blue, he would say it was green.....THIS MAN IS A JOKE!

    September 21, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Silence DoGood

    Let me see if I get this: Obama has always been a political insider judging by his ruthless Chicago style and connections. Then in 2008 he pretended to be an outsider saying he would change the inside once he got in there. But now as unmasked insider, he claims only outsiders can change things since he didn't change much inside. But he wants to stay inside to keep up the good work as an insider even though that is not as good as an outsider. Or do I have that inside-out?

    Obama will be elected only because Romney plays the fool immediately, while Obama takes so many words, I think the voters just get lost.

    September 21, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. tr

    Sniffit.... you get a cmon man for that one.. 259,000 manufacturing jobs created in the last 3 years, more than any president ever. My wife opened a hair salon under this president, I was able to return to college and graduate and in again earning my masters with the help of government loans, bright new career making the most money I've ever made, before graduation I had 2 jobs, post grad 2, total of 4 in 3 years..while Robme is putting his foot in mouth. Nuff said ....

    Obama /Biden 2012!!!!!!!! Ha!

    September 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Bill

    The Republicans have on their side of the story... Fox news, Rush, Ann, Mitt, and all the other clowns from the Republican convention, liars, fear mongerers, bullies and believers of this,,,, if you're not a god fearing republican you are not American.... Really? Take your idelogy and shove it, it sucks period! The Ryan/Romney ticket, (let's face it, Ryan will try to run the circus) is a true embarrassment to the hard working American people. Super rich telling the hardest workers they are free loaders, and they still have a voice in our America, how sad is that. How is possible that this is
    what the republican party brings to the big show. Wow! I may not be a true blue democrat, but I most certainly am a die hard anti republican.

    September 21, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Pisces67

    I also saw the article which quotes Romney saying you have to fix Washington from the outside when he was running in 2008. He is so all over the board that he can't remember what he stood for, stands for, or what he's said about any given subject. Keep on yakkin' Mitt.

    September 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Sonia

    Romney, Ryan useless garbages

    September 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Boo

    All I know is I cannot wait for the debates. Obama will crush this guy. Robme changes his mind so much, he'll have to write crib notes all over himself a la Sarah Palin to remember what he said.

    September 21, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Iowa

    Hey Dan, you do realize throwing out random numbers doesn't make you sound smart. Also, gee, why would things like that go up when we are screwed over by a GOP president who had no idea what he was doing.

    September 21, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Dejavu65

    Romney is so desperate now he is trying to reach and find anything to blame and say about Obama,,,,Romney said the same thing about change from the outside in, in 2008 when he wanted to be president....Romney is starting to be his own worst enemy. He is getting desperate and reaching for straws!!!!...He is becoming less and less presidential.. poor(rich)guy!!...Obama 2012!!

    September 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. ljhays

    Robme being such a great businessman and all, maybe Obama will offer him the Commerce Secretary job.

    September 21, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Dan

    Steely Dan, When GWB came into office he came with a balanced budget and a budget surplus (that means we did not owe anyone) bush could not stand having money in the bank and gave tax cuts and started two unfounded wars that he did not account for. I think blame should be placed where it belongs.

    September 21, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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