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. blf83

    The "Gipper" myth continues to be repeated, but it, too, is a lie. As for "Flipper", I'll stick to the dolphin.

    October 19, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. Vgott

    If you know that we were losing 750,000 jobs 4 years back and we are now gaining 125,000 private sector jobs every month, but still claim that economy is not better off today, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. ColoradoJoe

    If Romney wins, I certainly hope all democrats in congress block everything coming from the republicans period. And publicly state their main goal is to make sure R/R are a one term team. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

    October 19, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. shelbyanne

    If you supported the assault weapon ban, but don’t support any gun control legislation, you know you might be Mitt Romney.

    October 19, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Unlabeled

    It is a shame that calling out Romney for his "flip-flopping" on issues he do/does not stand on upon running for President to gain votes as un-presidential is hilarious. If it quacks like a duck must be a duck. Ummm...

    October 19, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. toni

    romnesia is an perfect word to describe mitt lying romney.

    October 19, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Ed

    Liberalism and Obama supoorters are a mental disease.

    October 19, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. LinSea

    Hate to break it to him, but I see many symptoms of 'Obamnesia' in him as well. He's forgotten any number of promises he made and hasn't delivered on, such as transparency, redicing deficit spending by half, bringing people together...

    October 19, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. shuman

    It seems Obama suffers from amnesia judging from his faulty recall of events leading up to and following the horrible deaths of four patriotic Americans thanks to his political decision not to provide adequate security in Benghazi.

    October 19, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. gmenfan54

    Amd Mitt's "Romnesia" has gotten worse in the last 2 months.

    October 19, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. RH

    Although "romnesia" may be fun. It sure is not something I would expect from the POTUS. Totally unprofessional. May even change my vote.

    October 19, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. jake

    Gotta make sure I don't get Romnesia!!

    October 19, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. CNN Bias

    Everything in the political ticker is about Obama and negative about Romney!!! CNN is in the tank for Barry! It is so obvious it makes me want to throw up!

    October 19, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. leonardo

    Romnesia: is not other than the disease you have when you really want to change the country for better....something CANDY CROWLEY doesnt have!

    October 19, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. NoTags

    The good news is, there is a cure for "Romnesia" and it is covered by Obamacare as a pre-existing condition.

    October 19, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. Fed Up!!!

    Good point Dave. Congress controls the purse strings not the President. I believe the Dems took over both houses in 2006 while President Obama was in the Senate in 2006 and 2007 then he was elected president in 2008 and the Dems cotrolled all three branches for the next two years.. So doesn't that mean he inherited his own mess??????? Shouldn't he be blaming himself for the mess instead of President Bush??? Whoops I forgot. President Obama doesn't take responsibility for anything. There are hundreds of sound bites of him blaming everyone but him self for his screw ups.

    October 19, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. tez07

    The comment section of every political (and unfortunately non-political) article is filled with zealots from both sides using these silly made-up words to insult each other. Now we have the candidates themselves employing this annoying tactic. The election cannot arrive soon enough so that we can pick the best of the bad apples and move on with our lives.

    October 19, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Gavin

    what a joke. if anyody has amnesia it is Obama. He does not want to talk about his dismal record on the economy or jobs. He keeps on changing the topics he wants to talk about because his strategy is to avoid talking about the economy because he can't defend his poor record. I guesyou could call this Obamanesia!

    October 19, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. Dontbow

    Come on un-decided, we almost have obama kicked out of his job. The numbers are turning on obama, his arogance and his lies.

    October 19, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. fernace

    Romnesia= Amnesia of convenience! Lol! Go Prez! Obama Nov. 6!!

    October 19, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. vellocet

    You missed the best part! "If you have Romnesia... you don't have to worry. Cause Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions"

    October 19, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. Wanderer

    If you, or whoever, think romnesia is 'name calling' you are romnesia. Obama didn’t call Romney romnesia. It is the terminology Obama crated for diagnosing Romney’s flip flopping.

    October 19, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  23. labman57

    Mitt "the human metronome" Romney's campaign has been based on unabashed lies, frequent flip-flops, and blatant pandering that helped him to get nominated … followed by his strategic plan to hit his reset button during the general election.

    However, Romney's team appears to be unaware of YouTube - the online repository of instantly accessible video clips, providing evidence of the previous policy positions of Mitt v.1, Mitt v.2, Mitt v.3, etc.

    October 19, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Romesia, huh? This coming from Obama, who can't even remember his real name, but thats ok, Barry, converting to the Muslim faith tends to make a person forget a lot of things. Smoking pot probably didn't help you either Barry. Shoot, its no wonder you can't remember where your real birth certificate is, how you got all the money for your college education, how your wife lost her lawyer's license, or the myriad of other things you seem to have forgotten, like the 'Change' you promised everyone. The only change I see in Washington is that we have come to a new level of liars, you have established a new category of liars that the world has never seen before, the sad thing is that all of the 'Black Sheep' will probably reelect you, as you've pulled the wool so far over their eyes they can't see past their noses.

    October 19, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. bigdoglv

    Another clever catchy phrase by our leader. Keep talking as your poll numbers plumet. You should try leading for a change.

    October 19, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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