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. Mike

    It is a real issue to me. The last republican president lied over and over and look what it did to our country. Lies got us into Iraq. Lies brought giant tax cuts for the most well off that have failed to pay for themselves and brought no jobs as promised, lies about mission accomplished, lies about WMD, lies about the benefits of private war soldiers, lies about the free falling economy and we just need to go out and spend some more. Lies about getting Osama dead or alive and then just not being concerned about it. Lies about free market economics and deregulated banks. Lies about ownership economies and the ever growing housing bubble. Lies about derivatives from that weasel Greenspan. Lies about bailing out banks and letting the bankers use it to pay out billion dollar bonuses from the other weasel Paulson. I am sick of the conservative lies and what it has done to the working class in this country. Obama promised a lot and he has worked to deliver on those and he would make more progress if the lying tea party that ran on jobs, jobs, jobs in their take over of congress would actually focus on jobs and not abortion, abortion, abortion.

    October 19, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. NOLATechy

    These ARE the real issues! And, they are NOT scare tactics, they are WHAT ROMNEY HIMSELF SAID! There is PLENTY of video of Romney during the Republican debates of him saying these things. Do some YouTube research and view them for yourself before you get on here ranting about the President.

    October 19, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Roy Ussery

    Just sounds like more Obama-Scare.

    October 19, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. FactCheck

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

    Republican Solutions:
    1. Tax cuts for the very rich.
    2. Tax cuts for the very rich.
    3. Drill, baby, drill.

    October 19, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Frank - FL

    Thanks Candy Crowley (CNN). Obama needed your help.
    Keep up the good work CNN!

    October 19, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. 2cents4free

    Seeing as Republicans are terrified of facts I have to agree it is a scare tactic.

    October 19, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. cm

    i want romney

    October 19, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. LaughinginFL

    That is too funny! I will not vote for Romney. If jobs/economy is the #1 issue for Americans they why is contraceptions, abortions, and other women social issues brought to the forefront by Republicans?! My body is my own and the mere fact that MEN believe they should have a say as to what I have a choice of is more than enough for me to vote STRAIGHT DEMOCRAT. As for the economy, there are ways to get money without breaking the law. But banning contraceptions/abortions is just one SMALL step to republicans/religious fanatics totally controlling what a woman can and cannot do with her body. H*ll we had to fight for the right to vote, work in certain fields, obtain medical care for women's health issues. Enough is enough!!

    October 19, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. callmecrazy

    Haha, Romnesia... Sounds like a take off of Jeff Foxworthy.

    If you were for something before you were against it...you might have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Downwithbarak

    Somebody turn his TelePrompter off, he's a babbling idiot without it but now after the debate he thinks it's time to have a low blow NOBAMA

    October 19, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    How bad can things get in the Romneyverse?

    The Salt Lake Tribune (Mitt's hometown newspaper) just put out its endorsement for ... President Obama.

    October 19, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. T'sah from Virginia


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

    Democratic Platform:
    1. Big Bird
    2. Binders
    3. Romnesiaâ—„


    Republican Platform:
    1. Lying
    2. Flip-Flopping
    3. Etch-A-Sketching

    Democratic Platform:
    1. Truth
    2. Justice
    3. & the American Way

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    October 19, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. DOG1

    The republican'ts always site jobs even though the biggest reason there hasn't been job growth is them. Besides repub congressmen ; blocking every single thing Obama has tried to do to help small businesses and workers there's big corporations. According to every news agency (including fox news) corporations are sitting on record profits. They aren't hiring because they don't have to. They're paying low wages, making their people do the work of two, taking away their benefits then using the threat to make them unemployed if they complain. And they're making lot's of money! They are also purposely not hiring to make President Obama look bad because Romney will cut their taxes (not yours) and deregulate them including the safety regulations that protect you and me (after all safety measures cut into the profit margin).

    October 19, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair


    "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
    Yeah... a big steaming pile usually attracts a bunch of flies too.

    October 19, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "I think it is quite relevant to the conversation."

    Indeed it is, which is why "Liberal" is so upset. That particular person being nothing more than a Romney supporter disguised as a Liberal. Quite a lot of "them" come to CNN dressing themselves up with foolish banter and equally foolish opinions.

    October 19, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. DJ

    Obama and Biden have proven to be liars. They lied about the Bengazi terrorist attact, denying it was a planned attact blaming the incident. obscure video when the State Dept. disclosed that it was indeed a planned terrorist attack. Hilary Clinton also lied, later accepting blame to gain a Supreme Court appointment should Obama be reelected. They have been a maasive failure on foreign policy and the domestic ecconomic front. They have put our nation deep in debt, and want 4 more years to finish us off. Wake up America! 4 more years to lie, cheat, and steal. Get these crackpots out of Washington before it is too late!

    October 19, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. gt

    worry about your own agenda...ops...yea better idea...blame bush..

    October 19, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Zach

    When you ignore the other candidate's policies and achievements and then say he doesn't have any, you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Sodapophead

    Everything Obama is saying about Romney is true, so how is that a scare tactic.

    October 19, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Sandy


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

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

    Romney is the one that brought up Big Bird by saying he would cut PBS and he is also the one that brought up Binders. And Romney is only TALKING about jobs and the economy, but he has not told us his plans, so him just saying JOBS and ECONOMY means NOTHING!

    October 19, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Mark

    yes, its really really unfair and mean of Obama to point out Romney's changing positions on every issue

    October 19, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Pags

    So what's the name of the condition that results in the President who promised 'the most transparent administration ever' "forgets" to put out stimulus reports as legally required fro the entire year? I guess we can call it "Obamnesia", but more accurately we could probably call it "an average day".

    October 19, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. MrBeenThere

    why must the President come up with brand new idea's, the ones he has already running on are working slowly in spite of the Republican stonewalling. I
    t's a weak excuse for Mitt with NO plan of his own...... to date he's got a dozen of his own he picks and chooses from day to day. None of which the math adds up.
    I think FORWARD in the same direction with the same plan is just OK with me...................

    Obama for the Future 2012

    October 19, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Cam Spurgeon

    He doesn't have amnesia. He is a liar through and through. Won't tell us plans, won't show us his taxes. God help us if Romney and Ryan somehow get elected.

    October 19, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. clearly

    DJ, your misinformation indicates you watch alot of faux news. Obama ended war in iraq. Romney will have us in another war. Obama received Nobel Peace Prize. The whole world loves Obama. Only since Romney started bumbling around threatening to buy the presidency has middle east problems cropped up. Republicans in current form ignite rage abroad, and will creat another war. Obama has stellar foreign policy. So what he wanted to wait and get it right before he let us know what is going on in Libya. romney talks as if we would be in WWIII right now.

    October 19, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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