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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- Sparring over economy in weekly addresses

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Brass tacks: If you think that the way to get out of a hole is to keep on digging...you definitely have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. cali girl

    Romnesia. The guy who says, "I was for it before I was against it"
    and "I stand by what I said, whatever that was"
    and when asked a question he can't answer, we get, "we will get back to you on that".

    October 19, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. shay


    More Obamaloney. Tell the 14 million who are unemployed HOW you are going to create jobs, Mr. President!! If you had done that by now you'd be a shoe-in. Anything but talk about that, huh?? Gotta keep them entertained and focused on the other guy, huh?

    October 19, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |

    I have a job and HAVE KEPT this job through out president Obama's term. I don't feel sorry for you!! there are plenty of jobs that are available in this economy. People not just you don't take the time to look hard enough to find it. Get off your BUM and CNN and go and look for one! Then you will see this whole thing from a different EMPLOYED view!

    October 19, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. BinaryTooth

    Obama is a failure and cannot run on his record. Therefore, he has to resort to this type of personal attacks against his opponent. What a loser?

    Like the Mayans said "Obama 2012"

    October 19, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Ritt Tomney

    Then is high unemployment, unsustainable spending and unaffordable health care "Obamitis"

    October 19, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Klargar

    One of the defining symptoms of Romnesia is an uncontrollable rear ward contortion of the spine which causes the sufferers cranium to actually be inserted in the sufferers rectum, even when pulled out the fecal matter in the sufferers ears and eyes do not allow the unfortunate victim to see or hear reality.For some odd reason the only images or sound that gets through the crust is Fox News.

    October 19, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Draxta

    It's so amusing to see Obumbler continue to tear apart Romney while offering no concrete idea of how to fix the economy.

    October 19, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It's a shame that "Romnesia" won't let us all forget about the last 4 years!
    Oh you'll forget the progress we've made in the last 4 years if Romnesia gets into the White House. Believe that!
    Heck, you'll forget the progress we've made as a society in the last 100 years if Romnesia gets anywhere near the Oval Office and starts doing away with things like a woman's right to choose, Medicare, Social Security, Health care, contraception, your right to vote without intimidation and suppression.

    October 19, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Vgott

    If you say it takes 5 to 6 years to turn around a company and make it profitable to sell it, but claim that a country can be turned around in 3 years , then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    If you believe the lies Willard spewed during the debates, while completely ignoring everything he has said prior......you might have Romnesia!

    If you believe ANYTHING Paul Ryan said, you might have Romnesia!

    October 19, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    That would make you a dung beetle Fair is Fair.

    October 19, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Jim

    In the second presidential debate Romney was asked if he will eschew the same policies as Bush and Romney tried to distance himself from Bush. But the next day Condaleeza Rice was stumping for him and he has 17 Bush senior advisers on his team including Ed Gillespie and Dan Senor. You can bet your boots we will see the same failed policies of the past if Romney becomes president.

    October 19, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Marie

    Yes not to call it flipflopper.....

    October 19, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. PTNY

    Obama Care permanently cures Romnesia!

    October 19, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Taking the Trash out in Nov.

    ...SO great to see Obo grasping at straws as he knows the wall are closing in. He's like drowning man holding up his one good arm above the waves...

    October 19, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Vgott

    If you say you will not a penny more taxes than what you owe, but immediately pay higher taxes just to show 14% rate, then you have Romnesia

    October 19, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Michigan patriot

    Obama is scared, he sees that he is losing ground, and he is trying everything he can to make people believe he is still the man for the job. He has proven in these four years what a failure he has been, and he will go down as one of the worst presidents in history, besides Carter. Economy is bad, gas prices high, no jobs. Come'on people wake up, what's wrong with you? Don't you see what he is trying to do? This country is not what it used to be anymore, thanks to Obama.
    ROMNEY WILL WIN!! He is the man for the job!!

    October 19, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Frank

    ROMNESIA.... Now that is awesome lol. The Plain Truth. Love It. Catchy.

    October 19, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Nick

    Blah, bah...I don't have a plan/clue but will tell you how bad I think the other guy is so you'll re-elect me and I can spend trillions more we don't have. At Al Smith, Romney's lines were far better than Obama – he can't even tell a joke well. Bottom line is poverty is up, unemployment is p, deficit is up, TARP funds haven't been repaid, Al Quaeda is alive and well, and our image in the world is the same. Now if only the media would tell that story...

    October 19, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Vgott

    If you say you will reduce taxes, but claim that who ever is not paying taxes are victims and slackers, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. rusty


    October 19, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. Blackflag

    The only upside to Romney winning this election is the pure entertainment value of finding out what he actually will do as President. It's like we have been watching a long mystery with all sorts of twists and turns and in the end we will actually find out the main character's true intentions. Unfortunately, this mystery would have a fairly predictable ending. Let's hope we don't have to see it.

    October 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Odyssey

    I have been looking for a term for romney for long...Obama got it right!

    October 19, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Jack

    Its an old Nixon saying that you run to the right to get nominated and run to the center to get elected. It often works quite well. But the problem this time is that Romney waited far too long to make his shift and they thought they could get away with it by only doing it with three weeks left to go. He should have did it months ago when he got the nomination locked up.

    Now he is going to have to spend alot more of his time defending his big policy shifts at a time when everyone is making up their minds. Fair or not, waiting so long makes it look like he is trying to pull a fast one. The two choices are have are a president I am not all that impressed with or a challenger that wavers all over the place. He seems to have many conflicting core values and its impossible to tell which ones are real and which ones are not.

    October 19, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. OCCaVoter

    California is Blue for Obama.

    October 19, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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