Obama flips the argument, says Romney aspires for 'inside job'
September 21st, 2012
01:36 PM ET
9 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. 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!!!

    September 21, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. 2012liberal

    Woop woop. Just let romney keep talking.

    September 21, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Truth

    Romney is the worst candidate in the last 20 yes for president this guy would lead us into more war and bigger debt. He is clueless.

    September 21, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. sunshine

    Mr. President, I do believe you're playing chess while your opponent is playing checkers.

    September 21, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. LB

    Sounds like Mitt got set up for some late ads from Team Obama – well played Mr Prez, well played.

    September 21, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. bts

    Obama is right. The only way to change Washington IS for "the people" to VOTE the tea-baggers and Republicans out of office. Otherwise, it will be MORE OBSTRUCTION for 4 more years!

    September 21, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Azzy

    LOL at Romney being unable to take the bait. Someone take the fishhook out of both sides of his mouth.

    September 21, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. James

    Stealy Dan,

    Bush increased the debt when the economy was in good shape. Can you imaging what it would have been if he was president during a recession rather than the president who's policies caused the recession?

    September 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Ryan

    Get'em Barry!

    September 21, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Scott Pa

    Obama is correct. The republican party is obsessed with birth control, gay rights, abortion, and....wait for it...obstructing everything the president has tried to do for the country. I'm voting a straight democrat ticket in the hopes of giving Obama the chance to finish what he's started.

    September 21, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. John Oboho

    The president is right.Washington can be changed from the outside,by the electorates.

    September 21, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. express

    obama says washington cannot be changed from the inside, well then they should just stay at home and not even go there..

    September 21, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Marty, FL

    "Isn't that amazing?"
    Why yes Romney, considering you are on tape saying the very same thing. Absurd hypocrisy.

    September 21, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. n

    @ pat pat, No, you are the joke with you racist remark. What does the president race have to do with governing? You are a fool! Period.

    September 21, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Joe

    Mit talks one thing in front of one group and talks the opposite in front of another group the next moment. He changes his talk so much he himself doesn't know where he stands. The only thing he knows about himself is that he flip-flops too often.

    September 21, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Alger Dave

    How can Obama keep a straight face while fear mongering that Romney will put energy and tax insiders into his cabinet to write policy? Ever looked at who fills Obama's cabinet and inner circle? It's full of Wall Street insiders from Goldman Sachs and just about every other investment house and bank. Insiders writing our economic policy. Want to know why we haven't had meaningful reform for Wall Street? Just look at Obama's inner circle. They are the 1%, along with mr. Prez himself.

    September 21, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Marita

    Stealey Dan – that is because he didn't include the cost of the 2 senseless wars he took the country into, in essence he didn't pay or account for the cost of wars during his presidency. Obama is to the contrary accounting for everything! And the things that are happening are the consequence of 30+ years of globalization, trade agreements, etc. This didn't happen overnight, it started with Nixxon going to China and then afterwards others bringing China into the fold. We essentially created a monster. Study economics. The damage caused in 30+ years cannot be repaired in 4, it will take decades for this country to get up and be what it used to be, and maybe it will never again be what it was. Did you ever read the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire? I recommend you read it, you may learn something.

    September 21, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. A Desperate Situation

    @myviewis: A tape is already being shown where Romney said change comes from the outside when he was running for President in 2008. I think Romney is losing it because he just can't believe that something he wanted will not be his. Also this country is not a disaster and is the best country in the world to live. You should know from experience because you claim to be an immigrant. You are welcome to leave our country anytime you want and return to whever it is you claim to be from.

    September 21, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Obama is so full of it, the only thing this guy wants is to sit back and enjoy being president for another 4 years while he passes the buck to someone else or some committee ( which he has formed plenty of them ). He's so lazy and people believe all his excuses to not do the job himself."

    Seriously? THAT is all you've got left? Are we supposed to believe he's lazy because of his "tan"?

    September 21, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. B.

    All of the talk boils-down to a clear choice, Romney who Worships Money, and what it buys for him,
    and Obama, who actually cares about People and what He can get done for them!

    All the rest of it is blather-

    Not a hard choice.

    September 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Mr. President, I do believe you're playing chess while your opponent is playing checkers.'

    Naaaah, Mittens is playing Twister: spin spin spin spin spin left hand yellow right foot mouth.

    September 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. tibs

    It really is amazing how incredibly stupid both these men are. What an absolute disgrace that one is president and the other thinks he should be. How stupid and uniformed this country is that people will actually vote for these fools.

    Most people deserve what they will get. Such is the price of selling your intellect and motivation for trinkets and temporary phony wealth.

    Me, Ive been getting out of the dollar for the past 3 years. I own gold, mining stocks, foreign stocks that pay dividends in foreign currencies. The more the dollar falls, the wealthier i become.

    September 21, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. v_mag

    Ancient Texan said: "Romney would bring a lot of "outside" intelligence and real world experience to the table. Obama only brings redistribution, bigger government and class warfare!"
    You see what normal people have to deal with down here in Texas? One Faux Noise talking point after the next, with not a single rational thought in between.

    First, the tired old line about how a businessman would make the best president (think: George W. Bush, the man they never mention by name).

    Then the scary "redistribution" word, which strangely enough describes progressive taxation, which we have lived with fine for 100 years and which most people feel is fair (when you use a different term to describe it).

    Then the "bigger government" tag that the Repugnants have hung on Democrats for years, despite the biggest government guys being the likes of St. Ronnie Reagan and George W. Bush.

    Finally, "class warfare", which is the way rich people play the victim card, when in fact, the rich have been beating up on the middle class since at least the 80's.

    Ancient, old buddy, you need some new material. You might try real facts this time instead of fact-checked lies.

    September 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Damich

    Obama is right... Washington does need to be changed from the outside in coming from the citizens. Makes sense to me and I'm glad our own President inside of D.C. can honestly tell us this. Romney says this is a sign he is giving up on hope?...nonesense... Obama is human....now that he's been in the job for 4 years he has learned new perspectives... this is normal as expected!!!

    September 21, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Juan

    @Stealy Dan Do you not understand that President Bush kept the war costs out of the debt and budget? Do you know that when Obama came in he had to account for all that hidden money that Bush used to fuel the wars and that is a huge part of the reason why the debt has climbed so high? Do you know that Obama actually put the war costs in the debt and budget?

    No? Well, then. educate yourself.

    September 21, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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