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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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

"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.

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

- Ryan zeroes in on energy jobs in Pennsylvania

- Poll: Races in Florida, Ohio remains tight after second debate

- Early voting opens in seven states, D.C.

- Sparring over economy in weekly addresses

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

    Florida Poll: Obama leads Romney 48 to 42% in new poll By Newsmax Zogby poll.....

    October 19, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Howard

    The Obama's are masters at spending and redistributing other people's money. They make Bernie Madoff look like a rank amateur.

    October 19, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. aaron

    Hopefully, Comstock will be joining the ranks of the unemployed soon.

    October 19, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Romney / Netanyahu / Adelson

    One Casino Under God !

    October 19, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Jaime

    Anyone who has been following this charlatan for some time must certainly be aware of the fact that he stakes out a position necessary to influence/win over a potential voter group, then once he feels it is relatively secure move on to another group and then modify his position to reach out and get the interest of that group, then move on to the next target group and modify his position again to secure interest of that group. How could any Rummy supporter not feel used by such a snake oil salesman and feel confident that the Rummy they support at one point in time is the one he actually would be if, God forbid, he is elected? It is incomprehensible how anyone can be lulled into supporting this guy and the "trust" that things he won't discuss because if he did he would not get the votes. No sane person would even consider purchasing a used car from such a salesman....

    October 19, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. RudyG

    More Obamaloney. Tell the 14 million who are unemployed HOW you are going to create jobs, Mr. President!! If you had done that by now you'd be a shoe-in. Anything but talk about that, huh?? Gotta keep them entertained and focused on the other guy, huh?

    October 19, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Abby!

    Lol Mr. President! Too polite to call him a liar so you might as well coin a term for it. It’s so embarrassing to be known the world over as a liar!

    October 19, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. MIKEO

    "The Obama's are masters at spending and redistributing other people's money. They make Bernie Madoff look like a rank amateur."

    And Romney? Who takes over companies, load them with debts, strip them of all valuables including other people's pension and laugh all the way to the bank? Romney, that's who.

    October 19, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. funnyman

    Glad to see our president can be so funny at this very stressful time. Politics has turned into a big joke no matter who we choose,we need to get serious please!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. CronoT

    If your car is GM and you can't remeber whether you bought it or not, you might have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Name JJ

    President Obama isn' using a scare tactic. He's speaking the truth. Romney has changed his mind so many times. He's a flip-flopper

    October 19, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. John, PA

    The American people diagnoses 'Obama' FAILURE!

    October 19, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |

    Keep awake or wake up people! Romney has NO CORE values! He's like a flip flopping dying fish.
    Obama Forward! America's future is too bright to go backwards into the Romney Dark Ages of the 50's!

    October 19, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. Patti

    Sounds like he is accusing Romney of having Obamnesia after all is he forgetting he said during his last campaign that if he couldnt fix the budget in 4 years he wouldnt run for re-election oh ya thats the pot calling the kettle ... Well you know

    October 19, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. JoeD

    His timing on the joke was awful. Commedian in Chief, he is not. And thanks a bunch for screwing up the traffic around George Mason this morning. What a nightmare that was. >:(

    October 19, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Alyssa

    Romnesia – the condition of continuously forgetting your own positions when politically convenient. Persons diagnosed with Romnesia are often unintelligible when it comes to deciphering their opinions on key issues.

    October 19, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. clearly

    The man ended Iraq war. He was awarded nobel peace prize. His policies salvaged people's nesteggs. Look at the DOW.

    The man running against him is currently sending jobs to China. Look up SENSATA. Bain Capital is the ilk that sent us into this problem. Romney's constituency is the 1% and white poor uneducated. He will have us in another war with his attitudes.

    And Ryan is disgusting. His own state will vote against him.

    October 19, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. JJ

    President Obama isn't using a scare tactic. These are the facts, Romney is a flip-flopper!!! #Obama-Biden2012

    October 19, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Cholley73

    Ha Ha Ha – I'm laughing through my tears – This is serious business were talking about here. If you don't have a trust fund you shouldn't trust Rommnifeller. – He swip-swaps his positions so many times, excepting that he will never take a proof-positive position on anything that actually helps middle-class folks. – The details are just how bad your going to get screwed by this guy.

    October 19, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. California Gary

    After painting Kerry as a serial flip-flopper in 2004, the GOP now runs the "mother of all flip-floppers". Romnesia is a cool term and drives the point home about who Romney really is.......I like it.

    October 19, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. p

    The President's plan is and has been crystal clear.
    Ask the repub congress to start helping.
    Romney has thrown out so much BS, that he's forced the POTUS to respond to the malarky.
    Ask repubs in congress to begin to think of our country FIRST, for a change...

    October 19, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Alan

    Awesome campiagn line, best of the campaign so far.

    October 19, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. California Gary

    A person with "Romnesia" might say something like "I don't remember what I said, but I stand by it"........sound like anyone we know?

    October 19, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. us_1776

    We've had 32 years of the GOP redistributing the wealth of the country FROM the Middle-class and Poor TO the wealthy.

    Since 1980 the gap between the Middle-class and the Wealthy has grown enormous !!

    Middle-class wages are down while the Rich saw their incomes increase a whopping 350% !!

    There's a lot of redistribution going on and it isn't because of Progressive policies. It's because of Fascist policies.


    October 19, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Howard – You need to thank President Obama for saving your job selling Fords. Cash for clunkers and the auto bailout are the reason you still have a job, and you would be drawing unemployment if Mittens made the call.

    October 19, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25