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. Miss Manners

    Obama suffers from T.P.S. known as Tyler Perry Syndrome. He's an over-actor and his one-liners are corny.

    October 20, 2012 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  2. it'sME

    putting others down does not elevate your status.

    October 20, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  3. 1and4alll

    OBAMA NESIA 2012. Maybe he needs to be reminded of his unfulfilled promises that got him the presidency. Vote for change ...Yes you Can America!!

    October 20, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  4. freddie nerk

    Obama saved our country, save our auto industry,saved GIs from death, killed more enemies and delivered a Health plan. What has Romney done in the last 4 years? 0

    October 20, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  5. Bart

    Is Obama talking about Romney having amnesia? This is like the pot calling the kettle black. Obama, the habitual liar, changes his views at least twice a day. Obama lies about the economy, which failed due to Democratic Congress laws, and Libya, his 'acts of terror' was used to label a spontaneous demostration on a video in which Americans died. Obama cannot admit that the Libya 'acts of terror' is a TERRORIST ATTACK, he still cannot view the Fort Hood killing as a terrorist act.

    October 20, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  6. wave06

    The President couldn't
    have been more Accurate.

    October 20, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  7. Jennifer

    I have a lot of concerns about whether or not President Obama can get anything done in Congress if he wins and the Republicans still don't want to do anything. I feel like Republicans are like blackmailing us or something. And I'm afraid that Romney will just be Bush all over again. Most of the people running his campaign are Bush people, and Condy Rice is running around with Paul Ryan now! So, because the last thing I want is more of what Bush did, I don't think I can vote for him! If I vote for the Independent guy it's like I just threw my vote away! This sucks! I wish I knew whether or not the freaking tea party was going to still control the House after the election!! I really hope they're NOT!!

    October 20, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |

    Bog bird and romnesia - small men think small - there are those who make things happen, wtach things happen and ask "what happened?" - just keeping asking while pres. romney changes our future like your small pea brain never could the past four yeras.

    October 20, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  9. Harleigh Kiffer

    More of the same empty jive from the man with no substance.

    October 20, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  10. ddtrey

    Here's one thing none of us can forget; 6 trillion added to the debt and gas prices up $2. Time for a change folks. The change promised to us 4 years ago was a change for the worse. Women's equal rights won't matter if there are no jobs to stick them in. Until the economy turns around nothing will progress. And NO we do not need to throw more millions at crooked "Green Energy" companies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    October 20, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  11. snowdogg

    What happened to the term "etch-a-sketch"? Mitt needs to re-invent himself and his position at each opportunity... anything to get elected. he MUST serve the needs of his 1% masters.

    October 20, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  12. Sara

    I can't wait to have obamanesia when romney takes office. I want to totally forget about him and our horrible economy.

    October 20, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  13. Kirt

    This shows the mentality of Obama, no wonder he cannot work with congress. We teach our children not to make fun of people or joke about their names and what does Obama teach the world? He teaches the children that it is perfectly ok to make fun of someones name. If Obama is elected I hope the Senate will not pass to extend his spending spree and lets see where that will take Obama. He has no clue how to get along with congress so we will have another 4 years of him fighting with the Senate. This country is in trouble if Obama is re elected.
    I do not need Obama telling me what Romney said all the time, I want Obama to tell me what he is going to do any different the next 4 years than he has done the last 4 years. All he continues to do is distort what Romney said and tells us in a distorted fashion what Romney said. I can tell you one thing Obama said on the 2nd debate was that he was not interested in all the little jobs coming back from China. All he was concerned with was the scientists and engineers. Wonder what his first job was? Oh thats right he has never had one.

    October 20, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  14. mike in ohio

    obummers?you birthers get stupider and stupider.Romney was a reject from the last election.he didnt lose the presidential election,he lost the republican primaries.when he received the nomination this time,all you can hear from the GOP were moans and groans.now they love him.his track record blows.he is the epitome of a flip flopper.he will be anything you want if you have the right amount of money or votes.he's spineless.apparently thats what makes a gop candidate now a days.no offense

    October 20, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  15. jo an

    The phrase that describes ROMNEY to a T (party)....ROMNESIA......THE FLIPPER....!! Beautiful!!! Preach on Brother!!!

    October 20, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  16. george

    What's Obama's plan for the future?

    October 20, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Romney IS guilty of mind-changing about too many things. His pattern seems to be "whatever direction the polls turn". Many of the CNN Repub donors acknowledge that- but state "whats wrong with changing your mind about certain things" ??? Problem IS theres too much position changing and its confusing as to what his true feelings are and how wil he react once in office.

    October 20, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  18. TJeff1776

    Too much mind-changing on Romney's part. The Repub CNN donors say "whats wrong with a man changing his mind". At this point in the election process the Repubs are so desperate that ANYTHING Romney states is A-OK with them. They do admit THAT IF the election was held TODAY, Obama would win. Lets hope these trends continue.

    October 20, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  19. popseal

    In any debate the first contestant that turns to slander and personal attacks againt his adversary, knows his facts/history is bad and his logic is faulty, and his argument is lost......I learned that in Debate 101 about 45 years ago.

    October 20, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  20. Richard k

    How embarrassing and child like for the President of the United States to be calling his opponent "made up" names like "romnesia". He's the President for Petes sake not a nine year old. I am very disappointed.

    October 20, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  21. ExRepublican

    I love president Obama we got your back.
    Romney=Romnesia why did Ann said that her husband had a nervous breakdown when she was going to leave him.
    Romney is not presidential I am going to make sure we get enough vote out for Obama.

    October 20, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  22. Richard k

    CNN do us all a favor and stop stop reporting stories that make a mokery out of our President and the office!

    October 20, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  23. dontbow

    I wonder what cnn calls the presidents lack of remembering his campaign promises. no biggie? lol

    October 20, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  24. ExRepublican

    Romney still dont have a plan how to run our country. Romney against equal pay for women,PBS, bringing troops home,
    Romney was govenor of Mass it rank 47 in country for job creation. Romney have the same Obamacare.
    Did yall hear Santorum said Romney is not ready to be president.
    Wake up America Romney will send us back to war.

    October 20, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  25. GI Joe

    It's funny that RMoney is criticizing Romnesia, after making up the word Obamaloney.

    What a two-faced liar.

    October 20, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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