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. Realityblowz

    Country is in serious deep trouble, and now we have to listen to 5th grade name calling by the administration. Oh this is just great. This is what we have now? We as a nation are such a simplistic losing joke now for the whole world to see.

    October 20, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Ed1

    I guess you forgot about cutting our debt in half by your third year too.

    If this is all you can talk about pretty sad what about jobs and the economy you don't have a clue you keep talking about non issues like you have the past four years.

    October 20, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. Ron

    Romney got caught lying on National TV about Libya. Romney can't be trusted about anything and his sales pitch doesn't add up at all.

    October 20, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Dave

    Sure, Jim, suckers who believe Republican lies might give the GOP house a pass on obstructionist tactics. But let me remind you that Republican partisans don't outnumber the other voters in America. We're paying attention. They can fool people like you, EASILY, because you are part of their cult. But that's as far as their power goes.

    October 20, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. 1twinsfan

    Mitt does have Romnesia because he says he'll be tough on China but as of this week, Sensata went off-shore to...China! Mitt still owns a good chunk of it.

    Another sign of Romnesia is being against the auto bail-out but making $14 million from it.

    October 20, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President. You built that. Remember that?

    October 20, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Jim somewhere else

    I agree with the other Jim, Obama should do some self-diagnosis of his own problems and stop trying to unfairly attack someone who wants to help fix what Obama couldn't do and has no plan for the next four years: that is for the economy. Obamesia is the ailment Obama should be told. He forgot that he failed to keep his word on fixing the economy and for reforming immigration to ensure illegals do not continue to or increase the drain on our economy. Instead he made sure he slammed through Obamacare which is not going to help our economy. I gave Obama his chance and he failed. I will give Romney a chance instead of four more years of the same.

    October 20, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. talbet

    You know I try to please ya cuz I've got Romnesia. dum de dum de dum.

    October 20, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Anthony

    It is impossible to predict what a Romney presidency will be like, because most likely he will forget or change all of his positions, probably after the election.

    October 20, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Carol

    Romney does the same thing that posters here are accusing Obama of. Voting for Romney will e a step backward for this country, and it is sad that so many people are blind to this. There is no way Obama could have turned this country around in one term from the brink of a Depression. And presidents cannot do everything they promise. That is history.

    October 20, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. dave

    "If four Americans get killed, it's not optimal. We are going to fix it. All of it." - President Obama on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" talking about the attack by Islamist militants on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


    October 20, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. vamom23

    Way to go, President Obama!!! Romney's flip-flop, untruthful campaign needs to be exposed for what it is...a desperate politician changing his views to suit the audience. As a resident of Virginia, I am sick of the Republican Party's negative ad blitz, negative telephone campaign, and their pollution of our roadways with their stupid signs. Let's get this election going to re-elect the only sane voice in this campaign...President Barack Obama.

    October 20, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Anonymous


    Romnesia, Big Bird, Binders ....all stiupid distractions by Obama and the media

    Except that it was your own candidate Romney who brought these subjects up to begin with. But you already knew that, didn't you?

    October 20, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Mr.Davidson

    Funny Boy and Biden the clown quip their way to reelection -not.

    October 20, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. honest mari

    It is more than Romnesia. Romney is so finicky and so inconsistent from one second to the other that it is so hard for an on looker or the voter to really focus on what Romney really stands for (except for giving more and more to the RICH).

    October 20, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Tony Rains

    Obama has nothing so he attacks Romney. What is Obama's plan for revitalizing America? Answer: He has none.

    October 20, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. athiestbob

    lol... is this the hope and change we've voted for? Romnesia? really? Please do tell Obama about anmesia and all the promises that were flushed away by Obamacare..... you picked one battle that destroyed your presidency.... and divided a Nation like no other time pre civil war.... How bout doom and despair for this years battle cry!

    October 20, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. lance

    Romney the shape shifter.

    October 20, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Lawrence Usher

    I do not think that Obama is trying take attention away from the fact that the economy is not so great. The republicans want to paint t his picture that all Democrats think all is hunky dory . Even the most left wing people have been without jobs for one to two years now. But some progress has been made. With romney, who by the way is intelligent, you do not know which Mitt is coming to the dance. He is such a flip flopper. There is no reason to believe that his plans (whichever ones they are) are going to help the American people as a whole. I would love to see Mitt go up against GW in a primary. He would have been hammered relentlessly for being a flip flopper.

    October 20, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. NoleGirl

    Although I agree, I sure hope Obama does not stoop to Romney's level with the name calling. Obama 2012!!!

    October 20, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Name Glen

    Where is Bush? He isn't standing next to Romney because everyone will remember
    he put us in this hole . We are moving forward Yes slower than we thought it would be but 8 years of Bush hurt us badly. How about you pay my credit cards off in 4 years?

    October 20, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. GOP is for the rich

    ....oh, but it's ok when the repugs do it!!!

    October 20, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. GOP is for the rich

    The last depression took 10 years to correct!!!

    Romney doesn't have total Romnesia, however, it occurs only when he campaigns for an office. It is, therefor, 'elective Romnesia'!

    October 20, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Mike O

    Wow! Down to grade school name-calling. That's when you know a campaign has totally lost it. Big bird, binders, Romnesia.... THIS is the level of discourse the Obama campaign thinks is appropriate?? SO glad when they are gone in a few weeks.

    October 20, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Akr

    The Salt Lake Tribune has endorsed Pres. Obama. Both Romney and Ryan are poised to lose MASS and Wisconsin.
    Obama 2012.

    October 20, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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