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. CavPilot

    Is Obama for, or against gay marriage today????

    October 20, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. AJ SAIZ

    Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?

    October 20, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. disgustedvet

    given a choice i'll take Romnesia over Obamanitus. Obamanitus is chronic and contagious. Obama should spend more time talking about WHAT his plans for the next 4 years consist of rather than trying to be witty. He has failed at both so far .

    October 20, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Jersey Girl

    Romnesia, I love it! And the cure will be Nov. 6th when we get rid of the flip-flopper, Etch-a-Sketchy, no core, no soul, no ethics, no integrity guy. I wonder what he has to say about FREEPORT, ILLINOIS, nick-named Bainport, due to Bain (of which Romney still owns a part of) sending the Sensata jobs – all of them – to CHINA! What the president said is true: Willard is the LAST GUY to be criticizing China! Sheesh, people! Can't you see through this guy? WHAT IS IT GONNA TAKE??

    October 20, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Jersey Girl

    And now we have all of these corporate companies trying to get their employees to vote for Willard! What is this world coming to? Some of them are even threatening their employees. Between them and the Republicans trying to STEAL this election with their voter fraud & Republicans getting CAUGHT throwing away Democratic registration papers, is it gonna take a MIRACLE for the current president to get re-elected!

    October 20, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Malron

    Jim From Somewhere Else, You deride the President for failing on immigration, fixing the economy and then for getting a health Insurance rammed through. No matter what the president does you would be against it. First off you need Biparisian support for things that truly help the country. The Republicans in congress are Shameful, they did not seekto work with the Dem's on anything , They stalled , held hostage legisation, created this upcoming fiscal cliff. The Republicans are not for the Middleclass They seek to hold on to POWER , plain and simple, People lets look forward Not backward, Vote for Obama and vote an independant or democrat in your Senate and House races. Do Not Reward Republicans For the Shameful Way Of Obstruction and Stalling in our congress. I think its almost treasonous the way they conducted themselves.

    October 20, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. demopin

    It's not Romnesia it REPUBLICANESIA!

    The Republican Party wants to ignore Bush riuned this economy.

    October 20, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. demopin

    It's the RepublicanESIA after Bush. Let's not forget who got us in this mess.

    October 20, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. leftywriteagain

    4 more years.

    October 20, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Trollinista

    Romnesia is what Obama will wish he had after the election. Time to kick this guy loose.

    October 20, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. larry5

    Name calling, openly, in a speech. The desperate hours approach.

    October 20, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. cnn and the rest of the liberal pro obama msm have lost all objectivity. shameful


    October 20, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Macmb

    Obama used to be against gay married and now hes now. He used to be for change and now hes saying its hard to change because of Bush. Get this mulato out of the white house already.

    October 20, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Ted van Tol

    Romney was misinformed three times during the debate of one and a half hour. You can immagine what that means in a Presidential day of 24 hours!

    October 20, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Jeremiah

    Keep hearing Mitt Romney has changed his plans, now Obama is "diagnosing him" LOL! Pls.. Obama said.. Unemployment will not go over 8%, now he wants more time to make it reality with crippled ideas, he evolved on big issues, depends on election year or not, gay right, immigration rights, has he done anything he said he'd do? GOP blocked him? We hear this a lot.. 2 years he had 100% control like Hugo Chavez did, what did he pass? Hmmm? Obamacare, same guy he fought hard to not take seat at Supreme Court passes it.. Said he'll bring people together, gallup said obama polarized.. We don't hear any plans to fix anything, just tax the person who will write your next check, YES.. It doesn't come from him.. That guy who signs "your check" I'm sure out jobs are safer knowing his plan to fix his failed term. Remember "it's immoral for deficit to be $10T?" Would be cut in half? Go check what it is now? $16T? Wow! And we're better off now with hope and change crap? Those words failed to equate to deeds, but lets give him more time.. I voted for him last time.. Woke up!! Words don't pay bills, working does.. If words do that, pls let us all know, including the man in the mirror!

    October 20, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Obama..vs..Romney...

    The media and its Pundits seem to want to down-grade Gov Romney saying that he was disrepectful in the 2nd debate
    vis-a-vis Pres Obama....we beg to differ...when Pres Obama & Gov Romney stepped on stage to debate...two equals stood before us.....namely Candidtate-Obama..vs..Candidate-Romney.......Furthermore "RESPECT" is a two-way street
    Candidate-Obama seems to forget when he is on the Campaign-trail he is Pres Obama campaigning for re-election...but comes across very disrespectful towards Gov Romney.........so much for looking presidential......!

    October 20, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Matthew Williams

    R-Money will ship jobs overseas and conservatives are blind to see that. I notice that old people are voting for R-Money and Lyan Ryan. I hope they realize that they are committing suicide if they do. The Ryan plan will be passed and implemented and medicare and social security will be a thing of the past. Money Mitt needs to realize that being CEO doesn't make you a good president. No president can rebuild the economy in four years. 12 million jobs are already gonna be create in the upcoming years regardless of who's president. Top economist say that. That's why President Obama is getting my vote.

    October 20, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. ALTALKS21

    Ask Romney if he supports a LIVING WAGE for women (to get rid of the INCOME GAP & POVERTY that women have), since "...women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family" or will he ask them to sacrifice their families to give more tax cuts for the wealthy.

    October 20, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. dave

    The Republican party will lose this election...Americas election will never be bought by corporations and the wealthy, America USA elections will only be decided by We The People!

    Obama 2012!!!

    October 20, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Thomas

    I remember GW Bush !

    17 out of 24 of Mitt Romney's advisers worked for GW Bush .

    Any Questions ?

    October 20, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Sad State of Affairs

    Can you imagine how much money has been raised for political gain? Imagine that amount of money going to something like paying down the deficit, or better yet, helping those individuals who truly need help finding a job, feeding their families, affording a doctor, finding affordable daycare for those that do want and can work, helping seniors afford their medicines, paying back borrowed money into Social Security, etc., etc., etc.

    October 20, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Scare tactics, I don't think so, just factual based evidence from previous Romney public statements, clearly Barbara Comstock is the one scared Romney will lose, Obama's facts are clearly scaring the republicans

    October 20, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. DesiMOM

    Willard Mitt Romney is a BULLY and Egocentric. There are plenty of documented episodes of his Bully Behavior while in a Boys Prep School in MI. Even Ann Romney states that her main concern is his MENTAL HEAlLTH! The only reason he has been running for President is for the tittle. He does NOT respect Woman, does NOT CARE about ALL Americans nor he respects the office of the President. If he wins, America will loose respect in the World to worse levels then after GWB was reelected. Pres BUSH inherited a huge surplus from Pres Clinton, HE is the reason we are in trouble: he paid for two wars, tax credits for the rich and prescription drug ON a credit card (=Deficit). President Obama walked into his first day on the job already with a huge deficit. I agree with Jessica, if President Obama does not win, we will be worse off unless of course you are in the top 1% (wealthy), who id really the only ones WMR cares about. Wake up people!!!

    October 20, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Stephan

    The liberals have nothing left. Just the stench of FAIL. Will they actually leave the country this time. I sure hope so.

    October 20, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Dizzyd

    @Anonymous-yeah, they knew that, but they forgot. Must be that darned Romnesia...lol!
    @LonesomeDove-I'd rather vote for the 'demon spawn' Obama than for the Devil (Romney) himself. And Jesus already saved my soul, thanks.

    October 20, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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