President Obama launched a stinging new attack on challenger Mitt Romney Friday, mockingly accusing him of forgetting the positions he took in the Republican primaries when he was casting himself as a “severely conservative” candidate.
To the cheers and laughter of supporters at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., the president dubbed this forgetfulness “Romnesia.”
He added, “If you come down with a case of Romnesia and you can’t seem to remember the policies that are still on your website or remember the promises you’ve made, here’s the good news -- Obamacare covers preexisting conditions. We can fix you up. We’ve got a cure.”
He accused Romney of trying to shift away from promises to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and oppose contraceptive care as well as stepping away from his opposition to coal when he was governor.
“Now that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. Severely Conservative wants you to think he was just kidding,” said the president. “He’s forgetting what his own positions were.” He said Romney lately has been "backtracking and side-stepping.”
Obama left no doubt that he’s going after female voters at the swing-state rally, highlighting women’s health issues and the need to make sure women are treated fairly in the workplace.
"Governor Romney wants to take us to policies more suited to the 1950s,” Obama told supporters, adding, “He may not have noticed, but we’re in the 21st century.”
The president touted expanded health care coverage for women under the health care reform law. Of access to contraception, the president said, “that’s not just a health issue, that’s an economic issue.”
Obama also warned that a Romney presidency could mean a more conservative Supreme Court, and reminded supporters that he put two women on the bench.
“You want a president who has already appointed two unbelievable women to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Obama said, noting not a man who has to look through a binder to find qualified female candidates. Mitt Romney has caught flak for remarking that he looked through “whole binders full of women” in order to appoint his staff at the Massachusetts Governor’s office.
Romney addressed the president’s new line of attack at an evening rally in Daytona Beach, Fla. – though he refrained from directly referencing “Romnesia.”
“They've been reduced to petty attacks and silly word games,” Romney said to thunderous applause from a crowd of thousands, some of whom were in town for the ‘Biketoberfest’ motorcycle festival. “Just watch it. The Obama campaign has become the incredible shrinking campaign.”
Romney, who focused for much of his speech on the struggling economy and his plan for job growth, attacked Obama for failing to lay out plans for a second term in office. “They have absolutely no agenda for the future,” he said. “No agenda for America. No agenda for a second term. It's a good thing they won't have a second term.”
That brought an immediate response from Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner, who said that "just part" of Obama's second-term agenda is to "double our exports, create a million manufacturing jobs, cut oil imports in half, recruit 100,000 math and science teachers, train 2 million workers at community colleges, and reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion."
Sarah Huisenga contributed.