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.

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

- Ryan zeroes in on energy jobs in Pennsylvania

- 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. The Real Tom Paine

    If you wants to punch the President because he caught Romney in a lie ( again), you have Romnesia.

    If you claim you like cheesy grits when you really don't, say "y'all" when travelling in Alabama, and like the height of the trees in Michigan, you have Romnesia.

    If you and your wife like to crash other people's parties and you cannot remember the names of people 30 minutes after you've been introduced to them, but recall them when the names are in the news and it can make you look good when making a speech, you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Lu

    If you say you support our troops and want to go into more Wars to defend Israel from Iran.,,
    But you and your Five Sons passed out flyers in Paris London and Bordeux for Mormanism instead of serving to fight in Vietnam, Iraq or Afganistan
    Then you've got Romnesia

    October 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Namejkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    I hope romney the tax cheat gets cured after his upcoming landslide loss to president Obama ,but if he gets romnesia again ,he might run again by mistake and make it five straight loses for public office !!!!

    October 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Ah...I See.


    @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


    1. Cash for clunkers did NOT "lose money". It was an investment program to help stem losses from our then-faltering auto industry AND give working folk better vehicles to get to and from work with. Auto industry saved = Obama built that.
    2. 80%+ of Obama's green energy investments ended positively and not only created jobs in the short term, but is also laying groundwork to make us competative on the future of energy. This is a great ratio for anyone who knows anything about investments and for anyone to say "lets cede the future of the energy industry to the chinese" is beyond help. If you think Oil is going to remain a staple of human soceity (outside of plastics and certain high-powered fuels), you're the same folks who believed the Earth is flat when explorers were killed for saying it was round (religion is great huh?).
    3. Cali's unemployment is still too high, but at least their budget isn't dragging the nation like ALL red states and a handful of blue states. (Cali gives the very little surplus they have remaining back to the Federal government, who, if you didn't know, funds the shortfalls of the state budgets)
    4. "Gas prices" and "econ" dont deserve justification as points against Obama's administration. If you knew anything, you'd know the government has no hand in how the market prices things. Low gas prices are signifiers of a bad economy because people cant afford it. High gas prices are a signifier of a good one because they can afford it (mostly). Production is up worldwide, consumption is down worldwide (China's picking up but they have their own oil companies and any shortfall is imported from us and/or middle east), and yet oil companies make record profits every year. Blame them. Government has very little to do with how the FREE MARKET SYSTEM works. Ill bet you spray crap about socialism without knowing what capitalism is too, fool.
    5. Lastly, Jon Stewart was the one who was using the word "optimal" and so anyone with any literary or speech training will tell you its always best to use the same words the person you're engaged with is using. Jon Stewart said "it didn't seem optimal in the way that everyone in your administration was on the same page" Obama said "it's never optimal when an ambassador dies". I don't disagree. Unless you enjoy Americans being murdered, you shouldn't either.

    (Also, to the schmuck getoverit who posted his lame interpretation on platforms should realize that the "points under the Republican platform" are exactly as far as we've heard of his plan. Numbers would be nice. Plus 1 and 2 of the Dem side are things Romney said which we make fun of because it's ridiculous and out-of-touch, which leads to the 3rd point in that Romney won't stick to a position! We've given our platform AND numbers to validate PLUS data points in graphs showing improvement in the past and projecting more improvement for the future. Not our fault Fox News Entertainment keeps your heads firmly planted up your exit)

    October 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Squigman

    It all comes down to this. Which corporate flag, do you wish to salute today. Romney, has an agenda and that agenda is going to make the oil companies and energy suppliers very happy. Obama, has an agenda. His agenda makes life better for the health care industry and home builders. Which do you prefer taking your money. Oh, by the way it's not your money to begin with, or end with. It all belongs to the government. And we're the government. Now do you get it. STUPID.

    October 19, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. GetSmartUSA

    If you beleive you can fix the deficit and debt crises resulting from tax cuts, by another round of tax cuts, you definitely have Romnesia

    October 19, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Tim

    Mitt's a sham! He's no master business man who knows how to create jobs!

    David Stockman on Mitt Romney (Newsweek this week):

    "...Mitt Romney was not a businessman; he was a master financial speculator who bought, sold, flipped, and stripped businesses. He did not build enterprises the old-fashioned way—out of inspiration, perspiration, and a long slog in the free market fostering a new product, service, or process of production. Instead, he spent his 15 years raising debt in prodigious amounts on Wall Street so that Bain could purchase the pots and pans and castoffs of corporate America, leverage them to the hilt, gussy them up as reborn “roll-ups,” and then deliver them back to Wall Street for resale—the faster the better."

    Mitt's claim to the Presidency as a master businessman is a fraud according to Stockman, no Obama sympathizer. A very fiscally conservative, main street REPUBLICAN

    October 19, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Carol Fairweather

    LOVE IT ..LOVE IT... Romnesia says is all...


    October 19, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. Lolo

    Does anyone find it strange that on a day when the stock market is down 200+ points, there's headline about it on CNN? No surprise though, CNN is firmly in Obama's camp and doesn't have the courage to run stories about what's really happening to average everyday people.

    October 19, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Dean

    Obama is going to get nasty...he has nothing to lose.

    October 19, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Nicko

    You may not like everything the president does, but at least you know where he stands. Mitt is the worst flip flopper in history. Doesn't he know everything he's backtracked on has been recorded and televised. And to claim that reduceing taxes for rich folks (even though they are at the lowest since Reagan) will somehow magically help cut the ballooining deficit is straight up snake oil. Repubs want to make Obama look like he's solely responsible for the deficit, even though he can't get his balanced and deficit-reducing budget passed in the house.

    October 19, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Fortinbras

    If you forgot all about Romneys 30 minute rant against 47 percent of the country, you probably have Romnesia. If you agree that lowering tax rates to 20 percent will not add to the deficit, you definitely have taxentia, and maybe even taxasia. You shouldnt leave your home unaccompanied.

    October 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Tim

    Name calling. Is this the behavior we expect from the President of the United States?

    October 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Myself

    Voting for Barack would be an Obamanation

    October 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    If you think that freaking out over the demographic shifts turning America brown and that the proper long-term strategy is to double down on a half century of rhetoric and policies that alienate minority voters...you might have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    "Thanks for pointing out that the GOP/Teatrolls consider half of America to be nothing more than "flies."

    And even more to point is that the other half of America is so willing to eat Romney droppings hand delivered to them by Romney himself.

    October 19, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. anoel2005

    Obama wants to REDISTRIBUTE wealth. He called it "spread the wealth."

    That's un-American. Next !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. mds03197

    It's a shame that "Romnesia" won't let us all forget about the last 4 years!

    October 19, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Amused

    And if Romney wins, binders full of women are going to have PMS - post Mitt syndrome. lol

    October 19, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    If you like trying to scare people into supporting policies that will have us headed in the same direction as 18th century France by inaccurately claiming that current policies have us headed in the same direction as 21st century Greece...then you might have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Mike

    Oh that's good.

    October 19, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    In the end the twit has finally become the mutant from AK. The only difference is that he's supposed to be a smart businessman, the guy who saved the Olympics (with our taxpayer money which he forgot to mention during the debate) the one who likes to fire people, the one who tells a table full of real unemployed people he is unemployed (I wonder how many of these folks make $20M+ without a real job), the one who gets $10K like we bet a penny, the one who is umcomfoetsble among Black kids, the one who needs binders full of women (dating show anyone?), the one who speaks whole our embassy is being attacked to make a point with any intelligence (pun intended) report at hand, the one with the mansion with car elevators, throne with a horse deduction worth $70,000 even I'd the non working wife never rides the horse, the one who does the foreign trip to friendly countries (no Germany and they hate him in Italy and why not Ireland?) and insults everyone he meets, including his staff yelling obscenities at reporters, the one with a son wh is so mormon he wants to take a swing at OUR President for telling the tru about his father (with a name like tagg I would try to keep a low profile). The man who thinks seniors, our military and the poor are useless leeches that 47% he could care less about.

    October 19, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. CryBabies

    "Sketchy Deal", "romnesia" etc..... childish rhetoric . The President thinks this election is amusing....I'm sure 23,000,000 Americans aren't amused.

    October 19, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. High Way

    Mitt treats the American voters like a women he is cruzing in a bar, making her believe whatever it takes to get what he wants out of her. Its a very dishonest and deceptive game he is playing and that will have huge consequences if the Amercican voters elect him.

    October 19, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Obama wants to REDISTRIBUTE wealth. He called it "spread the wealth."

    That's un-American. Next !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    If you think that half a century of the wealth in this country being redistributed to the already wealthy whle the middle-class shrinks and grows poorer is preferable to policies designed to help stop that redistribution so the middle-class can hold onto a little bit more wealth...then you might have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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