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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- Sparring over economy in weekly addresses

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

    All you haters of the President and Radical Right-Wingers fail to realize that demographics in America are changing every year and ethnic minorities are becoming formidable in their numbers. Moreover, the party affiliation of Latinos, African Americans, Jews, Chinese, Indians, women is largely Democratic. You may spew your hatred of President Obama now, but what will you do when a woman or a person from the ethnic minority becomes President of the US ? My guess is that when you are done tearing the hair out of your head, you will start with the tiny hairs on your hands and legs. Believe you me, that day is coming. The likes of you will become dinosaurs.

    October 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. dave

    I keep hearing everyone talking about Obama's spending. ALL spending in this country begins in the House of Representatives. They have the purse strings. Who controls the House? Enough said.

    October 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. omg

    Obama is getting more childish by the day. What a president...lmao

    October 19, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Middle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    Let us not forget what happened when the last Republican President lied. We can't afford another disaster like that. Romney will be worse!

    Regardless of who wins, I will be fine. I'm a young, successful entrepenuer who survived the Bush Era. But when I vote, I'm thinking about my veteran father, my grandmother on SSI, and my sister who is a single working mother (newly divorced). I will not allow greed and ignorance from the right to destroy their lives!


    October 19, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  5. Vgott

    If you cant be even friendly with your allies (remember UK olympics) but you think you will negotiate and win over Iran, China and Russia, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. mary mcd

    I would much rather see Gary Johnson debate Obama than Mitt anyday.....

    October 19, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. Yikes

    @Jim This deserves repeating...

    In the last debate Romney yelled:

    “Government does not create jobs !”, “Government does not create jobs !” over the President.

    Sometime later in the debate Romney said: “If I become President I will create 12 million new jobs”.

    Which is it Governor ????

    October 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Waldo

    Romney is rapidly sliding to the center, Slickety Mitt. But he is burning his britches behind him. The teabaggers are demanding a do-over of the primaries. They are writing in Gingrinch, Saintorum, or whichever republican corresponds to their major maladjustment.

    October 19, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Romensia...sorta like syphilis...he should have told the Kochs and Adelson to wear protection.

    KNow who had syphilis? King George III. In light of the last two Georges and Mittens' plans to help further the creation of an American "nobility" class, Mittens might as well be George III.

    October 19, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Vgott

    If you dont even follow your own father's principles (remember, the 10 year taxes) but you want the country and whole world to follow you, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. 200 TON HAMMER

    Lol mad funny Mr Prrsident Obama lol you are mad funny sir

    October 19, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Tyler

    It's quite hypocritical to accuse someone of lying and having amnesia when you, yourself, as POTUS can't even tell American people the truth about terrorists attacks becasue they don't fit the narrative of your political campaign. It's ubelievable that Obama has the audacity to even consider calling another person a lier considering his own behavior. What a joke!!!

    October 19, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Laura

    I find the presidents jokes not one bit amusing - but insulting! How can he make jokes about anything when millions of American's are struggling? The talk show cuircut has sucked out his brain...

    October 19, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Jim

    If you have trouble believing Romney's policy positions, don't worry he will bully you into submission. Romney is like the Horrible Boss that we have experienced once or twice in our working lives.

    October 19, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. Smarter than Newt Gingrich

    Obama had no experience when he ran in 08. Now the same bs criticism. It will never matter what he does- you can't give the black guy credit. Some of us can relate. And your boy Romney... He has his newer version of the 999 plan so he can dupe you simpletons into voting against your interests.

    October 19, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. HappyLiberal

    If President Obama could only be this creative with the economy and jobs... sigh..

    October 19, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Stealy Dan

    So Obama is doing Jeff Foxworthy's act now. Very Presidential.

    October 19, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. vw

    Any republican should know about putting up smoke screens and making attacks because that's the go-to republican move. That's always been a problem for them, instead of putting forth a clear argument, they just sling mud and spit out insults.(ie Rush Limbough and Romeny's entire campaign).

    October 19, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney is water torture....flip flop, flip flop, flip flop, flip flop. Romney is alos a master political chameleon, changing colors and stripes...from extremely consevative to a born again moderate.

    October 19, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. freedom

    While Obama and his administration are in the middle of a horrific cover-up of our dignitaries being murdered – he makes bad jokes about his worthy opponent?

    October 19, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Vgott

    If you think it is justified for a millionaire to pay 14% taxes but some one who is earning 40,000 to pay 20% taxes, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Concerned

    LOL. The old man has lost it!

    October 19, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. lovespandas

    @Jim – you are absolute full of it! Get used to saying "President Romney"! CNN can spin it anyway they like but it does NOT alter the fact that Mr. Romney has the majority of women in his camp, the majority of independents and so and and so forth! If the Latinos and people of other ethnicities want to keep voting for a dumbocRAT, it is certainly their choice. They have done NOTHING for them!

    October 19, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. annieL

    Any woman who thinks Romney's empty promise of "12 million jobs" is more important to their financial, physical and mental health than the right to decide when or if to bear a child is thinking very short-term or not at all. Responsible couples plan their families for when they can afford the medical care, childcare and the many expenses that come with a baby so that they don't have to rely on others or on government. Isn't that what Republicans want? No more "victims" depending on government to raise their children? Access to contraception does not guarantee that people will use it and act responsibly but it's darn sure there would be more unaffordable babies and irresponsible parents without it. Is that what Republicans really want?

    October 19, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Anonymous


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

    Guessing by the comments coming from the right, this poll means as diddley squat to you as it does to the rest of us.

    October 19, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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