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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"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.

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

- Ryan zeroes in on energy jobs in Pennsylvania

- Poll: Races in Florida, Ohio remains tight after second debate

- 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. Liberal

    I'm getting upset here now, why isn't President Obama talking about the real issues instead of pointless gossip?

    October 19, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. tee1227

    Mitt Romney profited from the auto bailout to the tune of more than $15 million, according to a report

    October 19, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. tabeth

    Romney no strait forward vision: How will you do with a potential country like USA with such a poor character?

    October 19, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. No crap

    I hate to say it but that was pretty clever.

    October 19, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. V

    @ RudyG – I haven't heart Romney give any specifics as to how he will create jobs. He knows how to ship them overseas, but tell me one time when he gave an actual account of how he will create jobs. Don't lay that "give the rich a tax cut" bull on me. It has been proven over and over that doesn't work. So, just tell me exactly what Romeny will do to create jobs. . .

    October 19, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. rmoffatt

    Please, please America – listen and read. This election is so very important. To disregard the disparity within Romney's campaign is on the level of acknowledging that illiteracy in the U.S. is acceptable. Lying while campaigning should be illegal. And, what we are seeing is an ocean of lies. The question is – will you be able to sift through the lies and find a semblance of truth. LYING WHILE CAMPAIGNING SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO PROSECUTION. Americans deserve, and should demand, better.

    October 19, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. pat pat

    This guy is a joke! Next!

    October 19, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. DustyOnes

    That's all he has now?

    October 19, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Hypocrisy

    What happens if you realize you promised to fix immigration in your first year and then you realize you didn't do anything on the issue? You pander for votes by issuing an executive order right in the height of the election season. Yeah, minorities should feel great about your broken promise seeing as how you convenient got around to it right as people are thinking about voting.

    Or how about when you've been opposed to gay marriage – supporting civil unions instead – for your entire presidency and suddenly, out of nowhere you decide to embrace gay marriage. That's not flip-flopping or changing your stance for political gain, right? You can't help it if the wealthy gay community suddenly decides to pour millions of dollars into your fundraising efforts directly after making this announcement. Instead that's "evolving."

    Or how about when you continually site Romney's wealth as making him out of touch and then you're seen out on the town with Jay-Z and Beyonce with a combined net worth of 700 million+ (nearly 3 times what Romney is worth). Stopping by LA to visit Leo and Clooney while people all over California suffer to find jobs and put food on the table. Nope, that's not for political gain at all.

    Everything Obama has done has been for the good of the country...not for his own gain. What a joke!

    October 19, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. The Dude

    This is a real issue actually. Please don't think we will elect a president who has not made a commitment to any side of a real issue. Romney and Ryan are just pathetic. They change their positions every week, and have provided no specifics on the solutions for any real issues.

    October 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Listening

    I would like once for these guys to tell us their plans versus tearing the other down. These 2 are an absolute embarrasment to our nation right now. I wish someone would be a little bipartisan here.

    October 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Conservative

    I do not trust Romney. He says one thing to us during the primary, now he is going to the middle for the general election. No tax revenue! No on abortion! Stand with us Romney, do not be etch-a-sketch.

    October 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Thomas


    Mitt Romney not once talked about the economy when he was running in 2007 -08 .
    Romney: "I stand by what I said, whatever it was"

    October 19, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. bkgrandma

    Why don't the Democrats put some film clips in their ads of the Republican primary debates where Romney said all the things he now claims he never said??? That way it can be proven that he lies and is flip flopping without actually calling him a liar. Maybe then some of these republicans will wake up and see Mittens for what he really is.

    October 19, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. jimmy

    If Obama is reelected and drags the US economy further down, the stigma will be so great and Hillary Clinton will forever have to defend her previous bosses policies.

    It will likely doom her chance of becoming president.

    October 19, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Michael

    Obama is going to win Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, and WInsconsin. Romney is going to win Florida, North Carolina and possibly New Hampshire which means that Romney is going to lose the election. Everything else becomes a mute point

    October 19, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Nevergobacktorepub

    It's not pointless gossip, it is the truth and the people need to see beyond his trickery, that he is saying something now and is going to do something entirely different after he gets the vote.

    October 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    Obam has NOTHING to stand on, in his record.......so his only possible approach is to lie, lie, lie, about his opponent.

    October 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. corpsman

    I wonder how the tea_baggers feel about their candidate "evolving" into a moderate, big-government republican?

    October 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Hugo

    It's a real issue to remind people that Romney is telling anything to be elected. Wich kind of president Romney will be? The "severe conservative" or the "almost democrat" Romney?

    October 19, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. uniqueme

    CNN is using the usual "talking points"... surely as a bright person you know he said a whole lot more! Sheesh ... TMZ and CNN have a lot more in common than with serious journalists who care about news...

    October 19, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. rosco

    Why arent you working on creating jobs??
    why arent you finding who killed are not optimal ambassador???
    why arent you balancing the budget???
    Why are you waisting 1.04 bil on your family vacations??
    Why arent looking into the 19 green cos that you backed with our money that went bank rupt???
    Sir you are disgrace to America

    October 19, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. kayla

    call it like it is mr. president. HE IS A LIAR.

    October 19, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. roy

    I have something to say but I have to see if I can delete it first.

    October 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. California Gary

    Actually Wire......if Mittens had his way there wouldn't be any UIB for poor Howard to draw on. He would just drop off into the 47% and then Mittens would make fun of him.

    October 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25