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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- 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. 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. HE "CAN'T REMEMBER THE INCIDENTS" WHEN ASKED!!!! Even his own wife Ann said in an interview that her main concern if he were to win is HIS MENTAL HEALTH !!! Scary!!! The only reason he has been running for President is for the tittle.

    October 20, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. DB

    Those most rabid loyalists to Romney who suffer the greatest from this debilitating condition will rejoice to know that yes there is something out there a Dr can prescribe to reduce the symptoms, but there is unfortunately no cure. Ask your Dr or pharmacist for some Milk of Romnesia. This will reduce your suffering until 2016 when you can get a refill because you will need more then

    October 20, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. jerzgirl

    Wish he would grow up, stop the childish name calling and diagnose the economy and USA security.

    October 20, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Rev

    "When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said.

    The Republicans have been running on this policy for the past 4 years! Comstock has an acute case of terminal Romnesia, with mutated conditions of hippocrytism and lemmingitis.

    October 20, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. nmdave

    Say good night Obama it's over. Even Iowa and NH are falling in line for Romney.

    October 20, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. NoTax

    It is not hard for liberals and theirs islamic friends begin to pack the stuff for great and mass trip to canada and mexico

    October 20, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Thomas

    I love weekends here at CNN .

    All the paid Karl Rove GOP posters who go by five or ten Synonyms and Alias names have the weekend off to party.

    October 20, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Honey Boo Boo endorsed Obama.

    October 20, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. suedatajo

    If you suffer from Ramnesia he sure has a medication for that. That is Vitamin M, m for money the economy matters. Ramnesia.
    A Abundance
    N FOR Non- proliferation
    E for energy efficiency
    Social security reform to benefit the citizens
    I for improvement in foreign policies
    A FOR Advancement

    October 20, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Roy Ussery

    What about Obamanesia? Economy in the tank. Veto the fiscal cliff. Rip apart Medicare for Obama-care. No plan to change anything. Perhaps Obamanesia is an Island near Hawaii.

    October 20, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. BobG(Milwaukee)

    @Thomas – 23 million unemployed – 13 million illegal aliens in country. 43 month of unemployment over 8% – a dead ambassador, 43 million Americans on food stamps. 16 trillion dollars in debt with the likely hood that it will be 20 trillion dollars in 2016. He will not release his university records, known to have associated with bomb makers, known to associate with communists, attends a church where America is cursed. Has told the Russian prime minister to wait until after the election before he can do anything, his VP choice is a gaffe ridden fool. Questions yes – how stupid are Americans to vote for this team? Go see the documentary 2016 and then see if you still like this guy.

    October 20, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. ed h

    America be aware of the new disease 'Romnesia ' lies lies and lies. This disease can infect old men without a warning.
    The young and women are not likely to be infected.

    October 20, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  13. Jim Masterson

    Important questions for Romney/Ryan about their SS “plan”:
    1. Where does the money come from for vouchers?
    2. How much would a voucher be worth, and would they all be the same amount?
    3. What happens when the voucher runs out? The end?
    4. If nobody under 55 will get SS when they reach 65 or 70, doesn’t that mean people will no longer be paying into SS for present benefits? So for people currently receiving SS, where would that money come from?

    October 20, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Pro-active

    Galaxy Prime, I agree with you. The term "Romnesia" to describe Gov Romney's changing stance on issues he once believed in and the back tracking and sidestepping will definitely stick. It is the one of best terms that the President and his Campaign team have come up with. They have to beef that up now for impact in the next few weeks and remaining time left before the elections.

    October 20, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. OBAMnesiA

    OBAMnesiA: I am so pathetic that I can not run on my record of last four years so I must resort to name-calling in last-ditch attempt to distract and confuse American voters ...

    How pitiful! This is how high school bullies behave on the school playground - name-calling, mocking and caricaturing their rivals. It is a pity that Obama, Dems and the liberal media have reduced the US presidential election down to low level of high school teenage bullies.

    It is easy to come up with terms like 'Obamnesia' also but I give Romney credit for focusing on real issues and not childish name-calling to distract voters.

    October 20, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  16. OBAMnesiA

    Really? All Obama and Dems have resorted to name-calling as last-ditch attempt to save this election ... pathetic!

    October 20, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. Hillcrester

    Obama leads in the most recent 5-6 polls in EACH of WI, MI, and PA.

    October 20, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. NewyorkerOMD

    I hope Jeff Foxworthy doesn't sue the President for stealing his catchphrase.

    October 20, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. NMM

    I hope Jeff Foxworthy doesn't sue the President for stealing his catchphrase....

    October 20, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. Obamboo

    Obama alreafy lost after the first debate.

    Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 20, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. JMaster

    Romnesia certainly fits that ever changing chameleon perfectly.

    October 20, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. matt

    "Romnesia"...good one....check this out Liberals: O-No you didn't / O-No you won't / O-MG...as if !? / O-My god what have we done? / Bend "Forward"...and grab your ankles / O-Crap, what now? / O-Bummer / O-NO...not again ! / O-Dear that went wrong / O-oops /

    October 20, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. matt

    The Obama administration is a classic “CULT OF PERSONALITY”…. he looks good, promises free stuff (at the expense of OTHERS’ MONEY AND FREEDOMS…all in the name of “fairness” of course) even though HALF the nation disagrees with him. He demonizes (vilifies) the very principles, means, and group that ENGINEERED and EXECUTED the rise of America (1775-1945)….using a smaller govt.+free market model (you know….that model Liberals say “doesn’t work”?...yes, THAT model ). The media acts like a mob of 14 year old girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Debates NOW are judged by volume, energy, and childish two year old kindergarten smirks & gestures….rather than (god forbid) PERFORMANCE RECORDS and REPORT CARDS. Never before have I ever witnessed SO MUCH use of DIVISIVE tactics with regard to class, race, and religious warfare….nor have I EVER seen a President take ZERO responsibility for the last 4 years. Pathetic.

    October 20, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. matt

    ….no Einstein…America went from a 13 colony misfit mob to a world super power using EXACTLY THAT MODEL. Don’t even try that garbage on people who ACTUALLY KNOW our history…..and along those lines, are you going to even remotely suggest 1775-1945 was a SOCIALIST MODEL ???? Get real.

    October 20, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Zach

    Obama will lose, Romney will govern toward middle right. A little dishonesty is alright. The means justifies the end. We need his compassionate mormonism.

    October 20, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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