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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- 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. Jim

    Ann Romney says no more campaigns if Mitt loses. She has given up already. Note the no-confidence.

    October 19, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Vgott

    If you say 47% are victims and dont take responsibility, for 3 weeks all your supporters hail you as a hero for saying it, and then you suddenly realize that you are completely wrong – then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Malory Archer

    LOL!!!! It's funny 'cause it's true!

    October 19, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. haystupid

    you want to see the 47% that will vote for obama no matter what. go to you tube and search, obama phone lady . this is the only thing this woman knows is , she got a free obama phone , and when asked what she knows about romney her responces is ,, romney su cks , he is bad .. these are the voters obama counts on . his only plan to win is to distroy someones reputation. he has no ideas , he tells jokes, picks things to try and make a catch phrase , every thing to try and distract from his record . with voters like the obama phone lady the next four yeas look bleak for this country .

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

    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.

    Barbara, where is Romney's plan? Where did he hide that binder?

    October 19, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Jack

    Newsflash. Obama IS running on his record. Otherwise he wouldnt be saying he will continue his policies and how/why he thinks they succeeded. Not in as much detail as I would like but he is doing a better job than Romney is about his policies.

    If there is just ONE thing about Romney that is severely lacking, and why I wont vote for him, is how he would balance the budget. Or more importantly... how he would convince the Tea Partiers in his party. He doesnt say anything about why he would reach across the isle. There is gridlock sure. But he doesnt say why. One of which is the Tea Partiers. He needs to say that he expects them to follow his policies as leader of the party. Or he needs to say that, if needed, he will do it without their support. Presidents often have to make tough decisions and buck their party. I dont see Romney doing that and his 'Im the boss" approach wont work with them.

    October 19, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Vgott

    If you think that your supporters are suffering from Romnesia or will be suffering from Romnesia by the time of elections, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. RoMoney's Horse

    I make a RoMoney sound when I walk. Flippity Flop, Flippity Flop, Flippity Flop. Neeeeeeeeee.

    October 19, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How can he make jokes about anything when millions of American's are struggling?
    Put a sock in it, and get a freaking grip Laura!
    Millions of Americans are ALWAYS struggling.
    You probably didn't have a problem with Dubya cracking off jokes while tens of thousands of Americans were struggling AND DROWNING with Katrina.
    Or how about when hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and military were killed by Dubya in an unnecessary and unjust war? Didja ask Dubya to stop cracking jokes during those many years?
    Probably not.
    Shut up and sit down.

    October 19, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. haystupid

    you want to see the 47% , go to yooou tube and watch the obama phone lady

    October 19, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    I just love to watch MittWitt in action. He is sooooooooooo locked in. By this time next week we will have all misunderstood, and that he was always a Southern Baptist.

    October 19, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Vgott

    If you hail Chinese companies and invest in them when you are a businessman, but now blame China for the same practices they are following evev before, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. joe

    Listen to the speach I laughed out loud. The prez was a gas. So was the eventual punch line about preexisting conditions. Go get him Mr. Pres Polls are coming around. Vote early everyone.

    October 19, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Sasa


    October 19, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Vgott

    If you can pay for your kids college (expensive), and think that all kids in America can get money from parents to pay for college , then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Jim Hahn

    And if you can't respond to the allegation, you said the other side is avoiding the issues.

    October 19, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. Voice of Reason


    You know the answer to this. Government only creates public sector jobs. You can continue create jobs by hiring more government workers.

    A President can take credit for "creating jobs" in the private sector with policy... Such as Obama, with taxpayer money, funding green companies like Solyndra.

    Romney believes that he can "create jobs" with an energy policy, continuing defense spending on new military hardware, reducing taxes to small business owners, and deregulation in certain industries.

    He is right that Government cannot create private sector jobs, but with policy, jobs can be created by small business owners, and companies.

    Good try on the semantics though....

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

    Yeah, that Romney bunch. Let me make sure I've got this straight. For a few extra dollars in our wallets each month – if Romney wins – we get:
    1. Overturn of Roe v Wade – which means a lot of new children to care for with tax dollars
    2. Repeal of "Obamacare" – which I kinda like
    3. Lots of unwed parents
    4. Lots of new daddies
    5. Worn down roads/bridges/schools because the money that should have repaired them is now back in our pockets
    6. Pay $6000 to help mom/dad/grandma/grandpa pay for healthcare
    7. No equal pay
    8. Step backwards in civil rights
    9. No contraception for women – but lots of viagra (see 1, 2, 3, & 4 above)
    10. Self-deportation
    11. Children who have been in the US since kindergarten or sooner will have to go to mexico, or someplace
    12. Tax cut for the rich
    13. Increased military spending – guess we'll need it after he kicks off a war with Iran (which none of his sons will fight)
    14. No prosecution for violence against women – unless she really didn't enjoy it
    15. A president who thinks veterans, retirees, the sick, and those holding down low paying jobs are worthless freeloaders who won't take responsibility for their own lives – hmmm...might be a few white, working class folks included in that??

    Great deal. I pass! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!

    October 19, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Voice of Reason

    Obama will never balance the budget. He has not plan to do so, or even pretends to do so. He has told all of us that he hopes to reduce the deficit. Reducing the deficit is no balancing the budget. sigh...

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


    @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!

    Hey, misinformed. About your candidate Romney and his ability to win a presidential election: Not Going To Happen.

    October 19, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Democrats, don't depend on the polls GET OUT AND VOTE because the Repugs will try to steal the election and will use the poll numbers to justify it that's why your vote counts. Don't let these Repugs think they can out smart us again remember it happen before, never again.

    October 19, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    you want to see the 47% that will vote for obama no matter what. go to you tube and search, obama phone lady . this is the only thing this woman knows is , she got a free obama phone , and when asked what she knows about romney her responces is ,, romney su cks , he is bad .. these are the voters obama counts on


    Or maybe (in all likelihood), a romney supporter paid her to say those things.

    October 19, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. jimmyjones

    Yes! Perfect diagnosis for Romney!
    I hope this catches on and people start using to describe all sorts of situations.
    "My Romnesia was so bad yesterday that I forgot that I actually like ice cream"

    October 19, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. CNNnesia

    Not newsworthy for the right-leaning CNN? Or did they just "forget" to post the latest Republican voter fraud? It's not on the Fox News site either.

    "A 31-year-old man working for the Virginia Republican party was arrested on Thursday after he was caught throwing out voter registration forms, Richmond, Va., the Rockingham County sheriff's office confirmed to CBS News.

    The man, Colin Small, faces 13 felony and misdemeanor counts relating to voter fraud, including one count of obstruction of justice, four counts of destruction of voter registration applications and eight counts of disclosure of voter registration applications.

    According to CBS affiliate WTVR local man reportedly spotted Small throwing a bag into a Harrisonburg, Va., dumpster reserved for private use by the company at which he works, and investigated because he was annoyed that the man had improperly used the dumpster. He looked in the bag to discover eight filled-out registration forms."

    October 19, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. Bonnie Crawford

    Barbara Comstock either has a memory problem or is lying. She needs to be reminded that Obama tried to pass a jobs bill, but the GOP refused to pass it, just as they tried to block everything else President Obama attempted to do. The GOP very well earned their name as "The Party of No."

    October 19, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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