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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- 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. Lean6

    It's a shame that our President has to focus even one second of the day to political bs campaigning when there's so much work to do. It would be a much BIGGER shame if he didn't and Mitt Romney's handlers were allowed to buy the White House.

    October 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Derek

    Again, Oweblamo likes to criticize Romney but presents no ideas. Typical Leftard

    October 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Thanks to Obamacare, he will be covered with this pre-existing condition

    October 19, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Ken

    The American people aren't stupid. They have pulled back the curtain on the Obama facade and they don't like what they see. The election is slipping away and he goes on comedy shows. Obama hasn't been interested in governing the country because it's difficult. He hasn't been doing the job.

    October 19, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    Pointing out the fact that Romney has changed his positions numerous times is a real issue: Huntsman described him as a " well-oiled weather vane", which is spot on. When Romney decides he wants to take a position, stick to it, and provide specifics ( like what tax deductions for the middle class he will eliminate), then a real discussion can take place. Simply saying you don't like what the president has done is not enough. His own primary opponants, over and over, slammed him for a lack of principles and for grossly inflating his accomplishments, does Romney really expect people to forget that? It shows overweaning ambition, not a plan to help this country move forward. Romney is the personification of a quote about Jefferson Davis" " As cold as a snake, as ambitious as Lucifer."

    October 19, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. PastorRomney

    A pastor? Romney said he pastored a church? This man is quick to anger, full of hatred, disrespectful to women and his son said he wanted to hit the president. This family needs anger management classes. Romney can't even raise his children to be respectful of authority even of the president of the United States. He is an imposter. Run away from him.

    October 19, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Garry

    Gossip? What he is doing numbskull is stating facts about Romney and his damn flip-flopping! Geez..READ the article or better yet, listen what Romney said earlier and what he is saying now!

    October 19, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "And thanks a bunch for screwing up the traffic around George Mason this morning. What a nightmare that was. >:("

    Thanks for pointing out what a big turnout Obama is able to achieve wherever he goes 🙂

    October 19, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Alyssa

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

    HE IS. Why don't you look at the video of his stump speech, especially this segment? It's up on youtube. He uses "Romnesia" a funny, accurate label to bring up facts about several issues.

    October 19, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. michael Yeboah

    Thanks to Obamacare, he will have insurance that will cover this pre-existing condition

    October 19, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. TAK

    Damn ... "Romnesia" is clever.

    And better yet, it addresses the flip-flopping, who's-he-trying-to-suck-up-to-now mode in which Mitt Romney seems to be stuck. I mean I USED to know what Romney's positions were on a number of important issues, but now he's all over the place

    At least it is making Ann Romney's life more interesting as she never know which Mitt is walking through the door each night.

    October 19, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Anonymous


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

    I'm guessing you have to actually be a Liberal to understand it. It must be really hard for Republicans to finally have to grasp that their political candidates, their religious leaders, their civic leaders, and their corporate leaders have ALL been shaking that etch a sketch at their "base" for years now. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did nothing more than bring out the hypocrisy of the Republican party for all to see...he himself being the biggest hypocrite of all.

    October 19, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. cnnife

    Responding to Liberal's commect: Please get upset all you want, what the president said was not pointless gossip, they are facts, accurate representation of what Mitt had stood for over the years. Educating the public about Mitt's lack of core principle should be part of sound political campaing. The voters deserve all the facts about what their next president stands for. When it comes to making issues out of poitless gossip, the Mitt/GOP are "Gossip-In-Chief

    October 19, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. rosco

    @palladin Cash for clunkers lost money, how the billions lost in his green jobs 19 companys his friends stole our money and that ok, hows cali unemp, gas prices, econ?? just listen to the snips, idiot, my fav not optimal to kill an American ambassador, what a jerk we need a pres not a celeberty

    October 19, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair


    I'm getting upset here now, why isn't President Obama talking about the real issues instead of pointless gossip?
    Because if he talked about the real issues, he would paint himself as a miserable failure.


    October 19, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. GOP = Madness

    Romney is a liar, why try to sugar coat the truth. Ryan is also a liar. Two peas in a pod. They go together like Skunk and Stench.

    October 19, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    Ann is worried about Mitt's mental health. She said so herself.

    I've always said he is in the early stages of dementia. Maybe it's further along than I thought.

    I do know one thing, he "brags" about never losing, and I suspect most of his "wins" were attributed to bullying and behaving like an over-grown child.

    She's never far away, as she says he looks to her for hints how he's doing -- MOMMY issues too?

    October 19, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Getoverit

    Republican Platform:
    1. Economy
    2. Jobs
    3. Energy Independence

    Democratic Platform:
    1. Big Bird
    2. Binders
    3. Romnesia

    October 19, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Chuck Hendrix

    @Liberal Pointless gossip? I do not think pointing out that Romney is not exactly consistent in what he claims to support or oppose at any given time is pointless. I think it is quite relevant to the conversation.

    October 19, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Kirk in michigan

    Patti, as incoming president with a economy that was days away from total colllapse, he likely assumed that he would have at least moderate support, ifnhe knew that they would fillibuster every attempt at progress, he would not have said it, my opinion

    October 19, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Jeff Reding

    I have to disagree with Liberal's comment. I wouldn't call this pointless fossip at all because it is URGENT that people keep being reminded that Rimney is a bald-faced double-talking silver forked tounged devil who will do and say ANYTHING to get elected. And with only 18 days to go, if the polls are any real indication, he is somehow winning – AND winning with WOMEN, which is the most insane thing about this race. With everything they have planned that is ANTI-women, how is it possible that they and Seniors, with everything they have planned that is anti-senior as well can back him? I mean really, a SEVEN point lead? What the hell is THAT all about.

    I think Obama has to really POUND these messages out to oeople, because since Romney changes his story around to suit whatever audience he's talking to at any given moment, it's too easy for people to forget what he said yesterday compared to today and the day BEFORE yesterday – and they ARE. It's classic Orwellian doubkespeak and it's somehow working. And if you've forgotten what that is, or never heard of it before, I highly recommend getting and reading '1984' in these next three weeks.

    October 19, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Margo

    Everyone should know that romney is not to be trusted. He is back and forth on every issue and I don't know about you but do we really want the tea party in charge of this country. I know I don't want their religion and views crammed down my throat under the disguise of a new law. If Roe v Wade gets reversed the women of this country will be set back to the 1950's....we don't need this arrogant businessman tellling us what to do with our bodies. Hey I say everyone should be able to choose and surprisingly you will find that most logical and half way intelligent women make good decisions. I already have a father who instilled values in me while growing up, I don't need that overbearing ape telling me what to do with my body. He is a liar and will say whatever whenever...don't trust him

    October 19, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. uniqueme

    @Patty, the do nothing congress is responsible for jobs. How has that bunch of bright and eager Republicans who promised jobs doing? They promised them yet blocked legislation to create them!!

    When poison pills are placed in the budget to ensure no one votes for it... it makes it impossible to make a budget. If Republicans were serious about either a budget or jobs, they would have done something about it!

    The Republicans also said that their job cuts would make for more jobs and stability. How is that all working out for you... and they are about to expire so good luck Republicans... you reap what you sow.

    And Obama is not allowed ot use Bush's legacy even though we outside of America said the Bush problems affected the entire world... and it would be decades to come out of your depression... yet you think coming out of it slowly isn't good?

    How about talking to your representatives about making this term one of record filibusters and Grover for making sure the Oligarchs are running the country and not the Government?

    Republicans have no interest in people and it shows constantly that they are not working for the voters who vote for them... but the remark from day one that getting rid of Obama was their agenda... not jobs... not working for the people ... yet people are still voting republican? UNBELIEVABLE!!

    October 19, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Canuck

    "Oweblamo "

    Sorry, I won't even read your post past this point. It's really sad to see the office of the President of the United States so disrespected by so many.

    October 19, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. caesarbc

    You'd think we would have built a better political system if its come to a perpetual choice between the end of the world or it being spared(?).

    October 19, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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