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. mitch

    CNN is not a liberal or liberally biased organization. Anyone who thinks that needs to come out of the "fox" hole and get some education. Having a few non-conservatives on the payroll doesn't count as being liberal. It's just not as ridulously one-sided as the gnews channel repugnicans drool over.

    October 19, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Name edmonton

    It is funny how Romney can lie over and over I wonder if his name is even Mitt

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

    "Obama is a failure and cannot run on his record."

    Mittens is a liar and cannot run on the truth.

    I'm sticking with "try hard" instead of "lie hard."

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

    In the last debate Romney yelled: "Government does not create jobs !", "Government does not create jobs !" over the President.
    Sometime later in the debate Romney said: "If I become President I will create 12 million new jobs".
    Which is it Governor ????

    October 19, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. beevee

    I hope president Obama kept his stock of knockout punches to floor Romney in the third debate. If the president keeps up the same aggressive criticism of Romney in the third debate also (his flip-flopping and changing his position on every issue like a chameleon) as he did during the second debate that should send Romney to the floor for good. It is time to finish the GOP candidate off. The president should look aggressive and confident in the debate and ready to land the knockout punches.

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

    MItt will say anything to get the low IQ rubes to vote for him.

    October 19, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Brian

    Obama got some nerves to talk. He should listen to his own 2008 speeches.... "when you don't have a record to run on, you pain your opponent as someone to run from".. and talk about picking on small things. He had plenty of chance to explain a few people everyone wants to know – WHY does he want a 2nd term? Does he have a plan to create jobs? If so, what is it? Why hasn't he done ANY of it? Where is the debt? Which of his promises did he keep? .... exactly, when he has no record to run on, he can only pick on the small things and attack Romney and hope we are all dumb enough to vote for him AGAIN. I won't make that mistake again.

    October 19, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    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.

    Uh, oh. Fair is Fair got dung punked.

    October 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Yikes

    Mrs. Comstock, these 'scare tactics' are not just some bluff to pull the wool over voters eyes. These are legitimate concerns that if left in the closet would prove a regression to America and its society. And take Romney's 'business record' and shove it. This man wasn't creating a business, or jobs, or manufacturing a product and increasing GDP, he was a swindler at best, flying in like a vulture wherever there was a quick buck to be made. Let alone that he's a serial liar, a chameleon changing positions to whatever suits his purpose, what a crock

    October 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Historyrpts

    Don't act surprised! Romney is no different than anyone else who wants to get elected. He will say anything he has to.

    October 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Vgott

    If you say you will help small business owners who are earning more than 250000, but later say that any one earning more than 181,000 will pay same share of taxes, then you have Romnesia.
    If you think small business owmers cant do math just like you, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. B. Cunningham-Wallace

    I don't have Romnesia. I remember all of the good things President Obama has done during his presidency.

    October 19, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. mikey

    Oamanation- An America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. An America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly

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

    Michigan Patriot, Do you not realize the President does not set gas prices & has very little to no means to influence it's price? Additionally, if it were not for the Repubs stonewalling every Democrat effort at moving ahead, things would be much, much improved. The Repubs ONLY agenda is to end the Presidents term. In the meanwhile, the country can go to hell in the process as far as they are concerned.

    October 19, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. hesea

    Obama is correct he isn't a medical doctor he is a community organizer.

    October 19, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Joe

    Romnesia is a far better than Obamarrhea.

    October 19, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Lroy

    You supporters of Mitt, as long as you guys our making jokes and calling the president names it's OK, but the minute things aren't going your way you want to call in the pity card. You guys are truly" out of your ever loving minds" and are in need of some serious counseling.

    October 19, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Steve

    That's not very optimal. Romney should be better at optimalness.

    October 19, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. cali girl

    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

    How right you are.

    October 19, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Biff

    That's a nice way of explaining that lying sack of Mitt

    October 19, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Vgott

    If you say Government cant create jobs (watch 2nd debate), but you question President for the unemployment rate, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Jim

    Ann Romney said on The View that Mitt was Pro-Choice as Governor of Massachusetts but on the campaign trail he is Pro-Life. Romney reminds me of a weather vane, he goes where the wind blows.

    October 19, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. tea412

    And Obama has AdLibya.

    October 19, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. George

    So now its some other stupid thing brought up , ' romnesia'. And all this coming from the man who was running as helping the middle class and the poor and has not helped them at all. But in fact has hurt all of the American people and now has forgotten what he said he would do and has only caused more unemployment, put more regulations on buisnesses and has more coming after the alection , has raised taxes on small buisnesses under two hundred fifty thousand a year, has raised taxes with his health care bill, and kept us from being energy independent by not drilling for oil , attempting to put the coal industry out of buisness , and being against profits for our people. Sincerely ;

    October 19, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Vgott

    If you know that it illegal for a company to ask a candidate/employee about their religion, but you support the company in reatricting the benefits based on religious beliefs, then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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