October 19th, 2012
02:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama diagnoses 'Romnesia'

(CNN) – After an evening of light-hearted jabs, President Barack Obama returned to his cutting criticism of rival Mitt Romney Friday, accusing the GOP nominee of forgetting the hard right positions he took during the GOP primary in order to seem more moderate.

Obama, speaking at a rally in the Northern Virginia suburb of Fairfax, told the crowd his opponent was suffering "Romnesia" after seeming to change his position on contraception, coal, equal pay, and taxes.

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"He told folks he was the ideal candidate for the tea party," Obama said of Romney's stance during the primary season. "Now suddenly he is saying 'what, who me?' He is forgetting what his own positions are and he is betting that you are too. I mean he is changing up so much, back tracking and sidestepping."

Obama said he and his supporters needed to come up with a term for "this condition he is going through," striking upon "Romnesia."

"That's what it's called," Obama declared. "Now I'm not a medical doctor. But I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it."

He continued using the neologism to slam Romney for what he said was a slippery set of positions, including on a set of issues important to women.

"If you say you're for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia," Obama said, referring to the Republican candidate's stance on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which strengthens the ability of women to sue employers over unequal pay.

Vice President Joe Biden piled on Friday, saying at a separate event in Florida that "Romnesia" was a "bad disease."

"And it's contagious, because all of a sudden Paul Ryan, the budget hawk, the guy who introduced a whole budget plan that actually already passed, it already passed the House of Representatives. All of a sudden he doesn't remember it, he doesn't remember it," he said, referring to Romney's running mate.

Romney has yet to clearly state his position on the law, though an adviser said after the second presidential debate that Romney would not seek to repeal it as president.

Obama continued Friday, "If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let employers deny contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia. If you say you will protect a women's right to choose but you stand up in a primary debate and say you'd be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, then you have definitely got Romnesia."

Romney, who says he does not oppose contraception use in women, did voice opposition to a provision included in Obama's health care law that required employers – including Catholic colleges and hospitals – to provide contraception coverage in their insurance plans.

The Obama administration announced in February what it called a compromise to that rule in which free contraception coverage still must be offered to employees of religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals, but health insurers - rather than the employers - would have to cover the cost.

Romney promises on the campaign trail to repeal Obama's health law, including the contraception provision.

Romney's campaign recently battled back accusations the candidate is moderating his stance on reproductive rights after he said in an interview he wouldn't pursue any new abortion legislation. He later said he would seek to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices that would support revisiting and overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion.

Barbara Comstock, a Virginia delegate and Romney campaign surrogate, said Obama was using his attacks on the former Massachusetts governor to mask a failed jobs record.

"When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said.

- CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. jim

    The more Barack Obama campaigns, the more petty and un-Presidential he looks. The more Romney talks, the better he sounds. I never loved Mitt Romney, but I think he has the potential to be a very good president.

    October 21, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. gail beck

    At least Romney has a plan I don't know anything Obama plans to do if he gets reelected.

    October 21, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  3. Jack

    Romney is a changable guy,and I don't believe him.2012 OBAMA!!!

    October 21, 2012 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  4. Liz

    Go obama go

    October 21, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  5. SPQR

    Mitt Romney doesn't suffer from Romnesia.

    Mitt Romney is an opportunist.

    Tha explains the flip flopping.

    October 21, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  6. jimbo

    I know politicians say things to get votes, however, Romney takes to another level. If Romney had won the party's nomination square and fair, I would vote for him to see if he can do a better job on the economy. i just do not see how a conservative who value integrity and principles (or they are bull shitting all the time on value) could vote for such a person.

    October 21, 2012 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  7. Guest

    Can you imagine Mr, Hollywood criticizing Romney who has a long record of accomplshments and real jobs.

    October 21, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  8. Shawn

    “When you don’t have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics,” Comstock said.

    Which is -exactly- what Romney has been doing since he started this entire farce of a campaign
    'His turn' indeed. I will not have an Anti-American in office of the POTUS. Obama and Biden, another four years!

    October 21, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  9. kme

    The media, CNN in this case, sure are heavily biased against Romney.

    October 21, 2012 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  10. Common sense

    America's wealthy are taking all they can from this nation- no public schools, no military service(even royalty in other countries serve), self serving low tax rates, needing government incentives for any business expansion while labeling government assistance to the poor as handouts, calling for less government interference while making choices about life that are each individuals right, and legalizing corporate greed while working for smaller government so that the corporate theft can continue with no one to stop it. Did big business make us great or did our government based on equality make us great? Every country has big business....we would still have child labor, no seat belts, no fuel efficient cars, no seat belts, rivers would still be catching fire, and love canals would be everywhere if government wasn't big enough to change it.

    October 21, 2012 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  11. David

    I've been watching the race for the Whitehouse from my home in the U.K. what amazed me most is how Romney is getting an easy ride from the American media he's been found out in lie after lie and his back tracking to change his views over the lasy year alone is astounding.

    October 21, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  12. Maja V

    Mitt and Ann made millions on the auto industry bail out in 2009- hence Romney's avoidance to show off his taxes for those years. Romney's hedge fund partners made billions while the rest of Americans lost everything. Romney now has the audacity to chide Obama for bailing out the auto industry with taxpayer money. Yet, Ann and Mitt made millions. Millions folks. Now he is using that money to buy the Presidency. All perfectly legal, but very very very sneaky. Saddest of all, it is completely true.

    Check out Greg Palast expose on DN. Anderson Cooper would you please interview him and get this story mainstream!!!! Please!

    October 21, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  13. kevin

    cute and hip sayings are what Barry Obama comes up with to deflect his horrible record

    October 21, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  14. Cindy

    I read this comment on "Daily Beast" and copied it and found it a good comeback:

    OBAMANESIA is mor lethal and Obamacare cannot cure it. It results in you not being able to remember important facts suc as what precipitated an Americn Ambassasador to be attacked and murdered in Libya. You try to cover it up with a soiled bandage, but the wound never heals.
    OBAMANESIA also results in delusions and hallucinations which causes you to think an obscure movie caused the tragedy, and you feel the need to apologize repeatedly to the perpetrators of the crime, the terrorists, whom you claim no longer are a problem.
    I hope you don't catch it!

    October 21, 2012 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  15. Esther

    In my view is a shame for any candidate go dirty as far as to use the "BULLING" to attack the oponent! Obama can't have a better strategic to run a decent campaign in United States of America.... This is the type of President for USA?

    What a shame President....you are a bulling suppoter using bulling in your campaign...that is totally shame for every american.

    October 21, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  16. Esther

    Why President Obama use the "bulling" in his campaign? Very bad personal manner or conduct in the America Society where everyone reject for a big damage against people... now we have President Obama play dirty in campaign using the "BULLING" against Romney because he can't stop the advance of Romney with new ideas, with better plan for our country...now President Obama play politics dirty in "the new Obama- bulling style".... It is SHAME!

    October 21, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  17. Joan

    Obama is the one with memory loss. I am for marriage 1 man 1 woman...gee...looked who forgot what he said!!! His whole 4 years has been lies!!!

    October 21, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  18. Ron

    More evidence of Romnesia:

    "I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was." —Mitt Romney (May 17, 2012)

    "I'm Wolf Blitzer and yes, that's my real name." —CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the beginning of a November 2011 Republican presidential debate
    "I'm Mitt Romney—and yes Wolf, that's also my first name." —Mitt Romney, getting his own name wrong (his first name is "Willard," and his middle name is "Mitt")

    "It's not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person." —Mitt Romney, speaking in 2007 about killing Osama bin Laden.

    "I'm not sure about these cookies. They don't look like you made them. No, no. They came from the local 7/11 bakery, or whatever." —Mitt Romney, visiting a local bakery while campaigning in Pittsburgh, PA, April 17, 2012 (The owner of the baker later told MSNBC he was offended by Romney's remarks.)

    October 21, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  19. Lynn

    Romney has no business running for President. People sure do ego trip when they have money thinking they can buy their way into the election. President Obama has a true heart and desire to make change the right way.

    October 21, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
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