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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- 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. nelson

    Beware of Romnesia and Ryanism. Two deadly diseases.

    October 19, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. Alois

    The majority of the people are getting tired of Deadbeat obama slaming everybody and making these childish comments like a ten year old kid. I guess that's all we can expect from freeloader like obama ,former community organizer.

    October 19, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  3. norma

    We deserve better. Willard mitt has no core

    October 19, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  4. gladr

    Barbara must have missed the debate where Romney stated more than once that "governments do not create jobs".

    October 19, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  5. gladr

    Lily: You need to look deeper at the pay equality thing. It doesn't say that all women should get the same pay as all men....only if you're doing the same job (have the same job description, responsibilities, etc.). In the White House, a woman doing an equivalent job as a man, receives the same pay.

    October 19, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  6. turth hurts

    Obama has reduced the presidency to the level of a failed comedian. He is an embarrassment to this country and the office of the president. After 4 years of failure, all he has for the American people are pathetic personal attacks and lame jokes.

    Wake up America. Admit you were conned in 2008 by the Democrats and LSM and get a responsible adult in the Whitehouse. Enough of this ridiculous clown.

    October 19, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. kem

    Anyway all of America knows Romney is a perpetual liar......it won't surprise me though same people voted for Bush twice .....go figure ...

    October 19, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. ann west

    I like" Romnesia", I will vote straight democrat ticket, I like what most of you have posted, let's post in Ohio, Florida , other swing states TV stations/newspapers, we may get a few votes, make a difference. Thanks.
    I am concerned about phony Republicans in Florida voting absentee votes, they show no ID's. The Florida GOP and RNC hired Sprout's Stategic Allied Consult.after they told him to change his company's name[was accused of destroying demcrats appl. to register 2004] then fired him when West Palm Beach Election officials turned phony Republican applications over to local procecutor, then FDLE took over investigations because 10 other counties reported problems. All F lorida Officials are Republicans so I hoped FBI would step in maybe they will now with CO and Va. I am really worried about Democrats thinking they are registered and won't be able to vote.Democrats, vote early, check voter records. I am afaid Republicans are trying to steal votes from democrats.in Florida. The fraud in Florida happened 9/27/12 and I have not heard about investigation..

    October 19, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  9. erin

    Why nobody asks Romney for his tax returns anymore? Is Romnesia contagious!?

    October 19, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  10. Greg

    Romnesia? Is this junior high or are we adults? You'd think someone as articulate as Obama could make reasoned arguments. Name-calling is the sure sign you've run out of logical arguments.

    October 19, 2012 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. patricia cala

    Yes, Paul. Obama has been sounding like a highschool nitwit. A president calling someone, anyone, names. I hope that people can see through his stage act.

    October 19, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  12. Bob

    Those people who claim Romney and Ryan's lies are not an issue are pathetic. Those two have lied more than any other presidential candidates in my life time. They are pathetic.

    October 19, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  13. CatSh

    I'm puzzled. It's been weeks since Romney's hard left turn, and yet there's not a peep from the Tea Party. I've seen these people destroy the career of GOP moderates for far less. Where are the indignant cries of betrayal? Did the Tea Party just give up? Or are they just too embarras sed to admit they made a mistake? Do they think he's just pretending to be a moderate to get elected – even though he was a moderate through his entire political career until 2010?
    I'm truly puzzled.

    October 19, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  14. Jeannius

    Be aware that Romnesia can be a symptom of a more serious condition: Senial DeMittsia! Other symptoms include difficulties with math, overuse of circular reasoning to answer questions without really answering them, and acting like you live in the 1950's.

    October 20, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  15. David

    Its funny the Republicans can't stand Romney to be called out for his many lies and position changes. They are saying the President shouldnt be trying to make up terms like this. Where was all this fake outrage when Romney first coined the term "Obamalony"? I'll bet you were the ones joking it up with your pals about it.

    October 20, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  16. J.V.Hodgson

    Romnesia, flip flopper, ignore independent fact checkers who say I am wrong all come down to one thing anything is ok to get a vote, never mind the reality of what I am actually going to do assuming you can figure that out, I cant!!.
    Bloggers talking about Obama joking being in bad taste should remember that the dinner is traditionally so and if referring to romnesia etc its freedom of speech and its true, and oh so sorry but truth always hurts.
    Romney refuses to give a definitive answer on taxes and how its paid for because the arithemetic would not add up and it would be deficit and debt costly, and clearly more beneficial again to the rich and wealthy.
    Talk about re-distribution of wealth both the Bush and his income tax proposals are re-distributive towards the rich.

    October 20, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  17. Melissa

    rofl. Love it... Romnesia. Its not scare tactics when its the truth.

    And honey, Unemployment is falling. You can't claim that he didn't create jobs, when the unemployment rate is down to 7.8%. Grow up already.

    October 20, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  18. susan bowl

    Obama you are a disgrace to this country; Name calling ??? too childish ; stop flip-flopping; Remember your last campaign where in you pointed out the opponents are trying to bring you down with negative remarks; What are you doing now? come up with some substance. Romney is damn right about 47%. He wants to help those 47 % people too Give him a chance and get out of his way.. Remember your words; "I will be a one time president bla bla bal" you didn't fulfill your words; hence get out.

    October 20, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  19. Truth

    I am a Romney voter and I am glad the GOPer was caught in the voter fraud case. We want to root out all cases of voter fraud, not just the ones that may support Democrats. Where have you seen people who call for ID laws say that it is ok not to have an ID if they are voting for "their guy"? Voter fraud happens in both parties and needs to be rooted out in both parties as well.

    October 20, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  20. migeli

    So Republicans say we would be much safer from terrorism with them in the white house.Was it not aRepublican in the white house when we were attacked on 9/11?

    October 20, 2012 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  21. Joel

    "Liberals are so dammed stupid": can you please explain exactly which allies of ours are being invaded/tortured? I hope you're not referring to the middle east because most of them are against us. Even if we want to help them, they don't want it. Sad but true.

    October 20, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  22. subtweeter

    I sincerely hope that the American people will end this administration decisively in November, because if they do not, in 2016 there won't be much left to save of America, or indeed the western world.

    October 20, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  23. erikc

    To anyone who thinks this "Romnesia" meme will hurt Romney's feelings....don't worry. I'm sure he'll forget all about it.

    October 20, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  24. Iamnotfooled

    PERFECT NAME. If he can't remember anything now. Imagine in a couple of years. No wonder Ann was worried about his mental state.

    October 20, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  25. The Left Wing

    After all the talk about Mitt being a flip flopper, after conservatives were afraid that he'd flip flop on their issues, after Romney's campaign manager said it would be like an Etch-a-Sketch after the primaries, Romney flip flops on his biggest item (the economy) abandoning its center piece, tax cuts, hints at flip flopping on abortion and birth control, and equal pay for women. After all this, some people fall for the flip flops. If you've been following the campaign and you fell for this, you are hopeless. If you just started paying attention with the first debate, you really need to find out what Mitt was saying before the debates. It was not, definitely not, what he is saying now. If you liked severely conservative Mitt, you should be distressed now that moderate Mitt is running. If you like moderate Mitt, you need to know and be worried that he ran as severely conservative Mitt for months and months before his transformation at the first debate.

    October 20, 2012 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
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