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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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. WatrGrrl

    What is WRONG with Obama? This Kenyan BOZO has no record – other than allowing our nation to be attacked from all sides by preventing states from enforcing EXISTING federal law and REFUSING to allow diplomats in ragghed countries adequate security!. Is THIS what Americans like about him and why they are voting for him? Obama is a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR and a TRAITOR to the ideals the United States stands for! He must be voted out so that Americans can send him back to Chicago to pack for his return to Kenya and the socialism he so strongly embraces.

    October 20, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Now Mitt wants to axe Big Bird and PBS News Hour and make us watch RomneyVision 24/7 News

    FoxNews merger with Romneyvision LTD .

    October 20, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. vowel movement

    better then a pandemic of obamconfabulation

    October 20, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Anne

    with all due respect Mr. President, what are you talking about? Answer the questions about YOUR record .. Benghazi.. the economy.. the debt... Stop with these stupid mockeries and gotcha words. You are not in the streets of Chicago .. how you doing man.. how's your 'mnesia... hahaha.. If you can't talk about serious things, good bye sir, forever.

    October 20, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Barb from Iowa

    Romnesia seems to be epidemic. All those Republican voices complaining about what Obama didn't do, forgetting that they did everything they could to shoot down every one of his bills.

    October 20, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. bisoncookie

    You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Mitt Romney is a liar – but Obama has told the God’s-honest truth about responsibility for the deaths of our ambassador and three other Americans in Libya, getting the unemployment rate under 7% if we passed his $832-billion stimulus bill, cutting the deficit in half in his first term, his Justice Department having no knowledge of Fast and Furious (the ATF’s gunrunning-to-Mexican-drug-lords operation) prior to February 2011 and that he’d never dream of raising taxes on the middle class. The Supreme Court says the “penalties” under Obamacare are a tax – on guess who?

    October 20, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Boniface

    The Americans by now should be able to make a clear choice about this election. We have one guy who is lying through his teeth just to get elected and one who has brought this country out of a deep recession despite all the opposition from Republicans. I am amazed that people still want to vote for Romney because they hate the POTUS. I am not surprised anymore after W was reelected in 2004. The world is watching us!!!! I hope people will come to their sense in the last day of this presidential election.

    October 20, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. George

    Sick of the freaking media. In 2008, it was Obama who said that when you can't run on your record, you attack your opponent. Romnesia, firing Big Bird... that's all Obama is doing – attacking. Why is THIS not the story?
    All the talk about the lack of Romney's specifics in his plan – at least I know he has a 5 point plan. And he has made several small examples of things within that plan – albeit not everything – but some of the things he'll do. But that aside... anyone hear what Obama's plan to fix the economy is? To reduce the deficit? Tax the rich? If the top 1% was taxed 100% it would only fund the Federal Government 90 days. So taxing the rich is NOT the answer. But to lower class and middle class people it sure sounds good, right?

    For all that talk about Fair Pay for women act Obama signed into law? Women working at the White House doing the same job as men, make 18% less pay.

    But the media jumps on Binders full of women?

    Forget that Romney's Lt. Gov. was a woman. Forget 1/2 his cabinet was women. Forget facts.

    I am a democrat. Have been my whole life. I have never voted GOP. I believe in gay marriage and a woman's right to choose... but Obama is not the answer. The media has done us a great disservice.

    I drank the Kool Aid in 2008, not anymore. Romney might not be the greatest choice on Earth for US, but he's better than Obama.

    October 20, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Dino

    Too many women in Florida have widespread Romnesia. They are willing to have their rights stomped all over tomorrow in exchange for an empty promise that Romney will put a few extra bucks in their purses today.

    October 20, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Jill-IN

    Mitt also has the Rmoney disorder. He will take Rmoney, Rjobs, Rhealthinsurance, Rlives, and kick us to the curb.

    October 20, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Expat American

    It’s strange how Romney/Ryan state that while the President inherited the economic crisis – they never reveal from whom it was inherited. Furthermore, Romney/Ryan want to re-install the same exact policies which caused the crisis in the first place – again, never stating from whom it was inherited.

    Romney’s 5 point plan:

    1. Destroy Middle Class and go to war
    2. Destroy Middle Class and go to war
    3. Destroy Middle Class and go to war
    4. Destroy Middle Class and go to war
    5. Destroy Middle Class and go to war

    Romney/Ryan have never mentioned Bush and Cheney’s name, not a single time. Why is that when all Romney/Ryan want to do is return to the former adminstration's same failed policies?

    October 20, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Robert

    Reminds me of "you might be a redneck" jokes

    October 20, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. helmetbreaker

    Obama and Biden to star in Hollywood vaudeville movie! It's amazing tha two grown men can act so childish! We are in serious debt, the Middle East is a disaster, and our economy is stagnant. Let's hear how these issues are going to be handled, not one line jokes and name calling! No wonder the polls are shifting to Romney!

    October 20, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Gimmeabreak!

    Do some self-diagnosis, Obama. Then tell us exactly what YOU will do to turn this country around after 4 miserable years with YOU at the helm. Your "lofty" rhetoric is sheer gibberish - nobody is buying your verbal garbage any longer!

    October 20, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. vc

    Romney is the very definition of flip-flopper.

    October 20, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    It is true President Obama didn't do all he promised. We all should know what that feels like. There are many reasons why we don't accomplish all we set out to do. Unless you been there you don't know what it is like. But, how can anyone trust a man who changes positions to suit the moment? I don't think Governor Romney is liar. He is just a man that will do or say whatever is necessary to get elected. He figures he only has to fool fifty percent plus one of the people and screw the rest.

    October 20, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. acbolt

    Does the president think he's a redneck comedian now? When is he going to give details on his plan for the future and stop making bad jokes?

    October 20, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. Greg

    The american auto industry is back to work. Osama Bin Laden is dead. I think President Obama is doing his job.

    October 20, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Was it Romnesia when Obama announced that women get mammograms from Planned Parenthood or was it just another Obama lie?

    October 20, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. tucsonlib

    Here's the problem the GOP has, as I see it. The Tea Party turned this party upside down and inside out in 2008. Candidates like McCain and now Romney don't know which end is up. They try to get nominated by appealing to the Tea Party but then find that this outlandish group of voters aren't going to get them where they want to go so have to move to the middle during the campaign. The flip-flopping of Romney is completely political and all about appealing to first Tea Party and ultra-conservatives, then the middle and more moderate Republicans and now women. Yes, Obama made promises in his campaign that he hasn't kept but his position on most of the issues of his campaign haven't shown a flip flop. Vote how you wish but for me, Obama has alwasy been for the middle class, women, minorities, and hasn't swayed from that model. Obama 2012! And just as a side note, Joe Biden was Joe Biden we all know in the debate and was 100% true to his personality and beliefs, however you might disagree with them.

    October 20, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. GMAN6464

    Was it Romnesia when Obama announced that women get mammograms from Planned Parenthood or was it just another Obama lie?

    October 20, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    Mittens is also hoping that evangelical voters will forget that they believe Mormons belong to a cult and aren't "real Christians."

    Mittens is hoping that no one will notice that 14 of his 17 foreign policies are from the GW Bush administration – and that we'll forget what an abject failure Bush's foreign and military policies were.

    Mittens is hoping that folks will forget that the "small business experience" he has was being asked to start Bain Capital – with a dozen or so people and $30 million in assets. And that Mittens only accepted the position at Bain Capital after Bill Bain promised him that if it failed, Bill would not only give Mittens his old job back, he'd get the raises he would have gotten if he'd stayed at his old job AND would be provided with a cover story so Mittens' reputation wouldn't suffer.

    Mittens is hoping that folks won't remember his seemingly heartfelt endorsement of abortion rights, citing the death of one of his relatives from a botched abortion – and that now he's against abortion rights and picked as his running mate Todd Akin's co-sponsor on anti-abortion legislation that seeks to define "forcible rape."

    Yep, you've got to be a deluded, desperate fool to vote for Mittens ... and suffer from Romnesia.

    October 20, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. just a mom

    the problem is Romney has changed his position on all of these issues all year and Republicans don't care. They just don't care that he changes all the time.

    October 20, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Fred Bessette

    I know of $16 trillion reasons to not vote for BO. Talk about broken promises, how about BO's? "I will cut the debt in half" "Unemployment will be under 6%" (Sure. Over 23 million unemployed, or have stopped looking for work) "I will close GITMO" "My administration will be the most transparent in history" (Ya, right, we can see right through you, BO). "I said it was a terrorist attack the next day" (No way! Yes, you spoke about terrorism in general terms, but you and your administration flunkies (Rice, Biden, Carney, Hillary, et al.) kept saying it was the video for several days after the attack, and YOU SAID THE SAME THING, TOO! Lack of security in Benghazi caused those four deaths, and the "buck stops with you, BO". Four more years of BO's socialist agenda will turn the U.S. into Greece. Go ahead and vote for this unqualified, egotistical, socialist and you'll see what happens.

    October 20, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Jess Sayin

    Romney's supporters are suffering from mass cognitive dissonance. Romney is just a garden variety liar. Romnesia is a polite way of calling out his fact flexibility.

    October 20, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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