Gloves off: Obama readies for next showdown with Romney
October 11th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
10 years ago

Gloves off: Obama readies for next showdown with Romney

(CNN) - Less than a week before the second presidential debate, President Barack Obama pulled no punches when talking about his Republican opponent at a campaign rally Thursday, accusing Mitt Romney of going through "an extreme makeover."

"After running for more than a year in which he called himself 'severely conservative,' Mitt Romney's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding," Obama said at the event in Coral Gables, Florida.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

In February, Romney described himself as "a severely conservative Republican governor" when he led Massachusetts from 2003-2007. The line, which appeared in his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, came as Romney attempted to bolster his standing among the GOP base.

Obama on Thursday, however, made the case that the public now knows a "new version" of Romney. The president aggressively began to portray his Republican challenger as a flip-flopper one week ago, the day after Romney won wide praise for his debate performance, while the president was criticized for not going on the attack.

But Obama seemed eager to pounce at the Florida event, launching slam after slam. "What happened? Now what does he have to say, this new version of Mitt Romney, about all the things he's actually promised to do as president?"

Obama especially targeted Romney over his tax plan, repeating the claim that the GOP's proposal would cost $5 trillion–an argument debunked by multiple fact-checkers, CNN.

Romney proposes a 20% tax rate across the board, the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the elimination of the Alternate Minimum Tax, the estate tax and taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends for those making less than $200,000 a year.

"When he's asked about the cost of his $5 trillion tax plan, he just pretends it doesn't exist. What $5 trillion tax cut? I don't know anything about a $5 trillion tax cut. Don't pay no attention to the $5 trillion tax cut on my website," the president said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Obama got the figure from a study by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Romney, however, has forcefully fought back against the study's statistic. Given that he has not laid out all the details of his plan, the study was conducted based on generalities from Romney's proposed tax policies, not an exact proposal.

The former governor argues his tax cuts for the middle class would not add to the deficit, saying he would pay for a reduction in the tax rates by limiting deductions and closing loopholes for the wealthy–though he does not specify which deductions he would eliminate.

"What he was selling was not working, because people understood his ideas wouldn't help the middle class. These days, Mitt Romney's for whatever you're for," Obama said.

A campaign spokesman for Romney responded to the president's remarks Thursday afternoon.

“Today, President Obama continued his campaign’s widely-discredited attack on Mitt Romney’s economic plan. This is what happens when a President has no record to run on and is unable to present a plan for the future," Ryan Williams said in a statement. "As President Obama continues his campaign of dishonest attacks, Mitt Romney will focus on his plan to fix our economy and restore prosperity for all Americans.”

At the rally Thursday, Obama also attacked Romney for vowing to repeal the president's health care reform law, even though Romney as governor enacted a similar plan that served as the blueprint for Obama's federal law.

In recent weeks, Romney has suggested he favors parts of Obama's health care law, such as the provision that make it illegal for insurers to refuse those with pre-existing conditions. Yet the GOP nominee still maintains he would replace the law with his own law.

"He even loves the most important parts of Obamacare," Obama said. "What happened?"

The president made no mention of his vice president, who takes the stage Thursday night in a showdown with Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan. According to pool notes, however, Obama called Joe Biden to wish him luck earlier in the day.

Obama faces Romney in the second presidential debate on Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley will moderate the event.

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • President Obama
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. UDidntBuildThat

    Bill from GA-4-door
    GDP from MINUS 7 to PLUS 4 percent, stock markets DOUBLED, from loosing over 750 thousand jobs per mont to positive job growth.
    That is a great accomplishment, with no help from the republicans,.
    4 more years!!
    since 2008 when Obama was coronated:
    -gas priceses doulbled
    -gallon of milk doubled
    -cost of food, clothing, utilites have all gone up.
    -median houseld income down $4500
    -unemployment 7.6% now 7.8% if u believe the cooked numbers. More and more businesess r unwilling to hire full time so they make do with part time. Do u like have 2 partime jobs to make up for one?
    -housing prices still going down
    -cost of health care gone up-even Obama admit this. So much for Obamacare "reducing the cost of healthcare"
    -deficit over $1trillion every year.
    -credit down grade twice in 3yrs.
    -poverty rate is up. $12 million more on govt food stamps since 2008
    -poverty, unemployment u name it has increase dramatically among minorities and in the poor neighborhood.
    -savings worth less and you money is worth less due to Obama printing money
    -debt Obama added $6Trillion to the debt more than any other president in our country's history
    -country more divided than ever

    Obama's dismal economic record has hurt the poor and middle class the most. His solution? To continue to hurt the poor and the middle class more while saying he is for the poor. Take a look at Wall Street compare now with Main Street.
    "When u run out of ideas and you don't have a record you can run on, you attack your opponent, fear monger, and paint them as someone you should run away from" -Barack Obama

    Want 4 more years of this? Then only pay attention to Sesame Street!

    October 12, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. a disgrace but you voted for him

    finally when obama was put up against a top businessman the american people were able to see why the failing countries economy is in such disgraceful condition...

    October 12, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. mango

    Ryan or Romney can not tell anyone how they are going to fix any problems. But you are going to follow them, it sure is blind leading the blind.

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. zzzzz

    It is justr funny how all republican's do not want goverment and has worked decays to weaken the USA goverment, but are also expecting goverment to fix it, or provide handouts to their "sponsors" with millions. Such an oxiymorons, and people keep on supporting them.
    And they'll say anything to be elelcted and later blame it on gvmt or brcrats...
    Why are Republicans in gvmt, to make it weak, so that multinational cartel businesses walk over it?

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    Wow, all the righties are out in full force this morning! What a bunch of idiots you are to support a candidate who wants to put back in place all the economic, military and foreign policies that are PROVEN FAILURES and got us into this mess in the first place!

    October 12, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    i will see you all on November 7th. I'm out!

    October 12, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    Mittens 'n' Munster's number don't add up .... GHW Bush had a phrase for this: voodoo economics.

    Failed then, fails now.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 12, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    If Mittens brings up that nonsense again about the "6 studies" that support his plan, President Obama needs to remind voters that what he's referring to aren't studies, they're opinion pieces!

    Look it up, if you don't believe me ...

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 12, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    On Tuesday if Mittens says that he knows how to work in a bi-partisan way because he passed legislation as governor of Massachusetts working with Democrats in the state houses:

    President Obama needs to remind voters that the reason why this happened is because Democrats know how to work across the isle and build consensus. President Obama hasn't been as successful at working across the isle because Congressional and Senate Republicans made making Obama a one-term president their highest priority and have done EVERYTHING to obstruct and delay.

    Time to put an end to these Repub lies! American voters with brains that actually work can see through all the BS Mittens 'n' Munster have been shoveling – time to call them out, Mr. President!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    October 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. dd

    Obama takes gloves off. Hands full of fecal matter. Apparently he forgot how to wipe! His EPA is performing death causing human experiments! He let the Libyan Embassy staff be murdered despite their requests for help! His Justice gave guns to the Cartels to kill Mexicans and Americans. Poverty is at an all time high! The Chicago Way doesn't work unless you are fat rich cat Democrat donor!

    October 12, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Moses S. Ketter

    The leadership of my party, the Republican party has eroded in the hands of delusional people: for Romney and Paul Rayn to claim victory for the vice presidential debate is far from reality. Rayn was unknowledgeable about 85% of the topics on the debate – his so-called composure can't compensate for this. By the way, his constant drinking of water contravened the rest of his composure – he was inferior to Biden. Biden, on the other hand, was tempted to laugh and interrupt. All in all, Joe Biden is the clear winner of this debate. Whoever thinks that Rayn won the debate is flattering the Congressman.

    October 12, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6