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. msjt1952

    AH.. I see Shut up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Karina

    These are trying times and serious matters are at hand , yet Obama loves to mock ,chuckle and is most pleased when he gets a good laugh from the crowd.
    He comes across like a boy in a man's suit and even after 4 years in office , he still doesn't display leadership and experience.
    Hope and change didn't get us anywhere , so this time it is " forward " , forward to what.

    October 19, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Got my 401K statement yesterday. Its up by over 20% compared with this time a year ago. Moved into a new house , a new build, with a 3.75% interest rate. The people I do business with have been steadily hiring over the last 2 years. Why would anyone want to change? Oh, that's right, the people who have made out like bandits and thieves in the night in the almost 30 years prior to Obama restoring, and who are now claiming victim status because they are being held accountable for questionable business practices. Tough. I'm middle class, and I am done supporting you while you ship jobs and wealth out of this country. You're done.

    October 19, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. OnlyOne

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

    Dead wrong. The wealth – the taxes we pay – are ALREADY "redistributed". He merely wants to ensure that both the collection and distribution process are fair.


    October 19, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. zisee

    Mr. President: Just keep the nasty comments coming and the lies. Remember the saying, what goes around , comes around. When the historians write about you, all your lies, sorted behavior will show the American people what an unkind human being you are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. DaveinIL

    Sounds like "the pot calling the kettle black" as Obama's amnesia on his 2008 promises is worse than any alleged change in Romney's positions. Of course, after watching the first debate and last night's lack luster performance at the Smith Dinner, Obama's amnesia may just be another side effect of sleep apnea.

    October 19, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. ttt

    If you introduced Romneycare in MA. and you don't find anything good in Obamacare; then you have one of the most acute and possibly incurable Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. 1twinsfan

    What's really bad for your health is in addition to Romnesia you also develop a case of Ryanitis.

    October 19, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Tracy Gorman

    Romnesia is actually a condition that millions of people hope to get on 11/6 which will help them forget the past 4 years! Obamanesia is "forgetting how much you've been screwed the last four years." If you catch this disease, you're dead.

    October 19, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. panictime

    'My son is NOT very optimal... he is very dead': Mother of U.S. diplomat killed in Libya attack slams 'insensitive' Obama's comment about security fiasco

    Read about it on a real news website....drudge report

    October 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. truth

    "Romnesia" – that's pretty clever by Obama. Tip your hat Romney fans, you have to admit it.

    October 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. werescrewed2012

    I just read the book of mormon, I'm not sure how anyone could believe that its quite rediculous. However if you do I've got some beachfront property in ohio for sale

    October 19, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Iamnotfooled

    THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT 1. Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow Cutting the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses: The President’s plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll, targeting the benefit to the 98 percent of firms that have payroll below this threshold.A complete payroll tax holiday for added workers or increased wages: The President’s plan will completely eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase their payroll by adding new workers or increasing the wages of their current worker (the benefit is capped at the first $50 million in payroll increases).Extending 100% expensing into 2012: This continues an effective incentive for new investment.Reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital. 2. Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America A “Returning Heroes” hiring tax credit for veterans: This provides tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.Preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs,while keeping cops and firefighters on the job.Modernizing at least 35,000 public schools across the country,supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and renovations at schools across the country, in rural and urban areas.Immediate investments in infrastructure and a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank, modernizing our roads, rail, airports and waterways while putting hundreds of thousands of workers back on the job.A New “Project Rebuild”, which will put people to work rehabilitating homes, businesses and communities, leveraging private capital and scaling land banks and other public-private collaborations.Expanding access to high-speed wireless as part of a plan for freeing up the nation’s spectrum. 4 more sections available. See what is for you. WOMEN & MEN HERE ARE THE JOBS–GOOGLE–THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT-BLOCKED BY REPUBS 9- 2011 There are four more parts.

    October 19, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. suegen

    Was at this event, incredible speech (more so even in person). I say no to Romney. We dont need a Bain businessman running this country. Ask the people of Freeport (Il) what Bain has done to their company(cant remember the name)....profitable American company being closed down and moved to China, to line the pockets of the Bain people. These employees before losing their jobs now have to train the China employees coming over here to train with them. Oh and the employees of this company were told to take down the American flag before the chiinese arrived. Think about that folks...it's people like Romney who are destroying the fabric of this country.

    October 19, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Jason

    Right wingers "stuff it". You all whinning saying the president is acting like a child for saying "romnesia". So its okay to call the president of the US the "Food Stamp President". Now thats childish. Ya'll right wingers gonna have to be mad for another 4 more years because the big O is getting re-elected on Nov 6th.

    October 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. High Way

    Here is what Mitt said at a Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing:

    "Without question, we simply could not host Games in Salt Lake if it were not for the enormous spending and services of the federal government," Romney had said in a 2001 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing around cooperation between federal, state, local and private agencies for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

    Talk about fiscal responsability. Is Mitt going run the country the same way if elected? Those olympics ended up costing the most in the history of the games. Still want to vote for him?

    October 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Iamnotfooled

    I can sum it up easily. Get rid of the TEA PARTY which is now most of the REPUBLICAN PARTY.

    October 19, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. gino

    All you women out there, get back in your binders. Romney has forgotten about you completely. Romnesia!

    October 19, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. TechTrend

    The President of the United States should not resort to name calling or mocking his opponent, even if the race is close and he is getting concerned. He probably wouldn't like to hear a similar mockery with his name, e.g. Obamscam, Obamadeficit, Obamapuppet, etc. but he is asking for it.

    October 19, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Orchid333

    Okay you gotta admit, whoever came up with "Romnesia" was brilliant! I bet this quip follows him until election day. I giggle a bit every time I hear it. 🙂

    October 19, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. sargentpepper

    i want to coin a new term:
    mittnocchio: it's when romny spews lies about o while making tbaggers believe they are true.

    October 19, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Anonymous


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

    Such as in "Bushnesia"? From what I gather, Bushnesia has been running rampat in the RNC for the past decade. Looks as if Republicans are now praying a healthy dose of Romnesia will be their cure all.

    October 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Vgott

    If you dont want to publish your taxes, but you want your running mate to disclose 10 years of taxes – then you have Romnesia

    October 19, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. anoel2005

    Did Obama have amnesia about our Ambassador (Stevens) to Libya having sent memos saying there were extremist attacks all around him and the danger he felt they were in over there? For 2 weeks, Obama called the Ambassador's ( and 3 others) death an attack due to a protest over a video. Obama's administration is lying or they're the most inept group of people who ever "ran" this country.

    October 19, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Harold

    If you were for 20% tax cuts across the board before you were against it after your campaign says you were for it again then you definitely have Romnesia!!

    October 19, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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