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. Jim McDonald

    Funny, I often encounter a similiar condition when dealing with obama supporters; they seem to focus on Bush, but tend to forget who has been in charge these last few years. I call it a Mental-barack.

    October 20, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  2. 4agr8usa

    "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things." Barack Obama – August 28, 2008..... Little did we know then he was talking about his own Presidency

    October 20, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  3. Lucky18

    Romney has hd this affliction for twenty years!

    October 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  4. newage42

    All one has to do is look at Obama's promises in 2008 and where the country is now with over 16 trillion in debt. Millions out of work, Millions more on food stamps and government assistance. Time for a change! Vote Mitt Romney on Nov 6th

    October 20, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. Joe

    Obama's issue is that he is a complete failure. Obama continues down this path of acting and attacking Romney as if he is a child. Time for Obama to go away. American's have suffered enough under Obama's failed leadership.

    October 20, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  6. Anonymous

    most inept president in over 40 yrs, after 4 years of failed leadership he is going back to his roots, south side chicago politics and lies.

    October 20, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  7. Anonymous

    If you can't sit back and remember the years 2007-2008 and just how awful both years were economically, you've got a really, really bad case of willful Romnesia. No doubt the cure will be voting Romney in - bringing all the horror back two-fold, and then some.

    October 20, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  8. Mr.Davidson

    Funny boy and the Clown Biden skirt around the serious issues and throw fake jabs at their opponent who has taken the lead which they really never had.

    October 20, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. Pete

    Romnesia, Big Bird, Binders ....all stiupid distractions by Obama and the media instead of looking at the mess Obama has us in. An ambasador is dead and so are some fine marines in Libya. Millions out of work, the middle east ready to blow and all they talk about is Big Bird and Romnesia. Obama is still a 4th year apprentice. Would you let someone like that run your company? How about operate on a family member? Can't wait till the big O is gone. The Presidential Pardon list will include Stalin, Mussilini, Osama Bin Laden and many others.

    October 20, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Hehe

    I beg anyone who is planning on voting for Romney to seriously reconsider.

    October 20, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Chip

    The Obama campaign is at it again. Hey, lets see if we come up with some cool catchword that may start trending and we will ride that wave to convince enough people to follow our agenda, which in fact we really haven't said exactly what it is. First we got em with hope and change......now its forward and Romnesia.....Oh how smart we are. What a joke

    October 20, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. Jerry Lemieux

    Oh boy. More real adult commentary from the man who wants another term as President. I've diagnosed Obama from his writings, statements and religious beliefs. He's nothing more then a racist ex-crackhead Marxist.

    October 20, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. Anonymous

    The last four years have been an "Obamination." Petty word games is the best Barack "I've fallen and I can't get up because of Bush" Obama has to offer, since he doesn't want people to talk about his record.

    October 20, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. amf140

    ROMNESIA & BINDERS???? Aren't we getting a bit desperate now? I'd think that there are more pressing problems that the Most Powerful Man In The World should be dealing with. Let's see – he hasn't been doing any governing in the past year. Even the Congressional Democrats don't even meet with him. No budget – now going on 4 years – I bet any of those FAT CAT business CEO's would be fired on the spot with no BUDGET or NO PLAN. He's had his time in the spotlight and has failed miserably. And the sad thing is – he just doesn't get it.

    October 20, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. Tony Anthony

    America deserves what it gets if it votes for Romney and the Republicans. This is the same party that got the world and the US economies into a financial crisis. If Americans are so stupid to vote again that way because they think some person or the Republicans can do a miracle fix, then you deserve what happens to you.

    For a country that is supposed to be a beacon to the world, it is also quite sad to see such disrespect shown to the office of the President. Employers telling employees they will lose their jobs if they vote a certain way, how pathetic.
    Keep your greed and brand of democracy to yourselves. The rest of the world does not need it.

    October 20, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. Takeanotherlook

    It takes longer the 3.5 years to pull it back together... especially when you have Republican Congress that voted "NO" on every proposal for the past 2 years.
    Show us what policies that Congress has passed for the past 2 years ??? All they have done is to vote themselves a Pay raise and they have not voted on the Farm Bill, did not vote on the Jobs bill and they still haven't done a budget in 3 years nor have they handled the Fiscal Cliff which will occur January 2013. Those are things ONLY CONGRESS can do. Yet Boehner, McDowell and Cantor have sat around and said No to every proposal. You want to Change that outlook.. UNELECT the Congress starting with Cantor and work your way up to Boehner... We need to un-elect Congress... and relect the President!

    October 20, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  17. Alexandra

    If you have that romnesia you better get some health care. romney im not rich like you I cant borrow money from my parents to pay for school, u are selfish all u care about is the rich people dont even care for womens rights they just want to see another bush damage this country thats all but is not going to happen....OBAMA another 4 years strong lets move foward.

    October 20, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  18. Mike S

    Who hell the is running the Obama campaign? Jimmy Kimmel or some other Hollywood comedian?
    It seems the Obama is better at creating funny lines than jobs or fixing the economy.
    Once Obama gets serious about at the issues than creating funny lines for the late night shows then Obama can be taken seriously. It is time for Obama to stop covering his economic inadequacies by hiding behind clever comments.

    October 20, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. Trish, RN

    Gonna Vote for the one person who signed to help guarantee that Women have Equal Pay just like men get when you come into the hospital for care ...

    BTW all these women bickering sitting at Kitchen Tables watching TV don't look like they have had a JOB in years in those Romney ads.. They look like housewives that have time to sit watch Tv and drink a cup of coffee. I am Not buying any garbage Mr Flip Flop has to say..

    October 20, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. Jessie P.

    This is so simple...........if you are middle class and you want the wealthy to get more wealthy and you want to pay much higher taxes........then vote for Mitt Romney.

    October 20, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. cgs

    This makes Obama look silly. It's right up there with big bird, binders and the garbage man who Romney won't hug. Pathetic president.

    October 20, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. Trish, RN

    Think AFTER we get the troop Out of Afghanistan and enjoy a peace time bonus. Can we get out some of these life long politician's who have gotten us into War in the first place? It is time for Boehner and his cronies to go home and find other jobs. Or to have a career other then being a politician. Serving in Congress should have term limits and NOT lifetime benefits like it does now. Do you realize that if any of these people serve 5 years they get lifetime benefits for healthcare and a pension? WTH can I get that job?

    October 20, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. Kevin H

    I learned back in elementary school that giving someone insulting nicknames is sign of immaturity and sometimes bullying. And I would have been punished....I hope no ones children are watching the behavior of adults politically....not setting a good example.

    October 20, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Jim

    Obama is keen to pointing out how Romney has changed his promises but in how own Obanesia, he forgets all his busted promises. Quit blaming the republicans, they've only had control the last two years. What about the first two? I grow weary of everyone blaming the other. The President, by definition, has ultimate responsibility. Maybe he needs to go back to Statesmen school. I'd say the same thing if the President of this ruined economy were republican. Get a clue people and lose the rhetoric.

    October 20, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Toni

    And this my friends is our president....sound oh so presidential. NOT!!!!! Seriously, we need an adult in the White House, not someone who whines about all his bad decisions being someone else's fault and results to name calling. Nov. 6th can't get here fast enough!

    October 20, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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