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. sirwinston

    None of us need to be getting to upset over Mitt or President Obama. Mitt has step on his words more than we can count and he can't be trusted or will be a good president for America....that is no lie. President Obama has also made mistakes and errors but has been grounded to a point. There has been lies on both side but Mitt has not been working toward the betterment of america but merely for the himself and the rich. Listen, it don't matter the class we are in; we are the same human beings and what is good for one should be good for all of us! I am not going to let anyone place me in a class because it serve no purpose and we all must understand that we are not getting anything special from anyone who is serving in office on the Hill in Washington, we are still "on our own" to make ends meet. Regardless of the outcome, we all need to be joining together because in the end all of Congressman/women and Representatives are going to taken care of for the rest of their lives while we..........still be put in different classes are going to suffer over and over again. Mitt is making millions but telling all of us lies and trying to make out that he is for America! Watch.....he will blunder again the last election.

    October 19, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. RonB

    I shook hands with a Republican, will I get Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. teej

    If Romney gets elected, and suddenly the corporations who've been sitting on trillions of dollars while Americans have lost their homes and their livelihoods, claim that they'll invest now because Romney is a great "political" leader – then consider America corporate owned, they've done what they've set out to do – try to justify your Romnesia then. It will change you fundamentally – how sad:(

    October 19, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Tom

    Good. It's about time the Democrats hit Romney on his many, many flip-flops. Politicians change their positions all the time, but I can't remember one who has done as many 180-degree changes on so many topics. Whatever side of the political fence you prefer, Romney's inability to hold a consistent position on virtually any major topic should be cause for concern.

    October 19, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Iamnotfooled

    We have seen what President Obama has done and knows he will finish the job. Unlike Romney who wants you to hire him and then tell you what he will do. (It might affect you.). less

    October 19, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Fed Up!!!

    Better Romnesia than the chronic Barackorrhoids of the last four years!

    October 19, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Republican

    I got to admit. It doesn't matter what party you identify with, but that was pretty funny!

    October 19, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. CNN = weak journalism

    9 positive obama stories, 4 neutral political stories and 1 positive Romney story....

    CNN is in the tank for obama. What journalistic HACKS. I will stop visiting... hopefully, they go the way of Newsweek.

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. OB 2012

    Love the name! Romnesia... It is so true! Does Romney think the country is that stupid to forget what stance he took during the primary season??

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |

    Actually, his name is not Mitt but Willard.

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    I do not know which of Romney's faces to believe.
    I'm a Republican who will vote for Obama.

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. CNN = weak journalism

    Hmmmmm: 9 positive obama stories, 4 neutral political stories and 1 positive Romney story....

    CNN is in the tank for obama. What journalistic HACKS. I will stop visiting... hopefully, they go the way of Newsweek.

    October 19, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Middle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    Romney says "Government can't create jobs"
    Romney says "I'm going to create 2 million jobs"

    Romney says "Trickle down doesn't work"
    Romney says "I won't increase taxes on the rich b/c they need more money to hire people"


    October 19, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |

    Keep talking folks. Us 47 percenters are voting right now 🙂

    October 19, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Publius Novus

    Wonderful. "Romnesia" is fantastic. I hope it becomes part of the political language, like "Nixonomics" and "Reganomics."

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Jake

    Here's what I don't understand. Red States have the poorest Americans in the nation, yet they continue to vote Republican and they continue to remain as the poorest of the bunch. What part of these guys are doing nothing to bring prosperity to your state don't you guys understand? Why keep doing the same wrong things and expect a different result? These Republicans have been playing you for sheep and fools, they could care less, the record proves it. Get rid of them, vote them the hell out, they are not doing anything for you.

    October 19, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. panictime

    Absolute dribble. Is this the best 0bama can come up with? Is this the best CNN can do?

    What is 0bama's plan for the next four years anyway?

    October 19, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. Eci'Am

    Romnesia very good line!
    I still can' t believe that there are Americans who would consider voting for Mitt.
    We all know why rich people hide there money in off shore accounts!
    He has a shell Co., that does nothing but hides money. Hides his true taxable income in the Cayman Is., and Swiss bank accts.
    What he said behind closed doors "47" that's
    the real Mitt Romney.

    October 19, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Yikes

    Saying you won't pursue anti-abortion legislation, and instead pursuing means with which to yank any support holding it up, is basically the same idea. Stop lying mitt.

    October 19, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Saboth

    Now this is what the president needs to do. Mitt stands for nothing. All he can say is "I'm not Obama". Thing is, Obama isn't bad. Economy is picking up steam. Housing market is too. Stock market has been doing well. Banks/auto industry are improving. Most of the "unemployment", "deficit", etc. Repubs try and pin on Obama are from the REPUBLICAN recession and REPUBLICAN spending. It's like they are blaming him for not cleaning up their mess fast enough. Meanwhile, Romney wants to go back to the same spending and deregulation that started this mess in the first place.

    October 19, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Pete

    Republican surrogates using the dame worn out phrase about Pres.Obama,anything new or you're just tired of running around putting out fires the Mormon moron started aren't yah..Arrogence overshadowing his ignorence again and it runs in the family with Tagg running his mouth off too often himself.There's an old saying Tagg," Don't write checks with your mouth your ass can't cash because now you've got some people gunning for your punk little ass and when they get it you'll know !!Romneys generally aren't liked and some people out there will let you know whether you like it or not,money ain't everything so be careful....

    October 19, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Middle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    How can you be a pastor of a church and lie so much?? I wouldn't trust Romney as far as I could throw him or his lying "washing clean dishes so that I look like I care" running mate Paul LYIN Ryan.

    Republicans, we need to do a better job finding honest candidates after losing this election. You guys dropped the ball when you didn't choose Huntsman. I may have considered voting Republican again...oh well


    October 19, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Eci'Am

    When don't have a plan you stood to scare
    Tactics, You mean like the GOP did in 2008

    October 19, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. southernwonder

    romney's son wanted to go violent on obama. after another briefing on libya to get ready for the 3rd debate, romney pretends his son was being spontaneous.

    October 19, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. panictime

    Romney is kicking butt in gallup poll, CNN won't show you. Don't be a fool. This bias dribble will make you stupid.

    October 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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