President Barack Obama stops mid-stride to greet supporters during a campaign rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Oct. 19, 2012.
By NBC's Ali Weinberg
President Barack Obama has been hitting GOP nominee Mitt Romney for weeks over what he says is Romney’s shifting to more moderate general-election policies, but now he has a new catchphrase for it: "Romnesia."
Speaking at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Obama turned the joke into a four-minute soliloquy, laying out what he said were all of Romney’s inconsistent positions.
“He's changing up so much -- backtracking and sidestepping. We've got to name this condition that he's going through. I think ... I think it's called 'Romnesia,'" he said as the crowd of 9,000 erupted into cheers and applause. “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.”
Given that the event was geared towards female voters -- signs at the front of the stage read “Women’s Health Security” and even the invocation was centered around women’s issues -- Obama first mentioned what he said were Romney’s evolving statements on workplace fairness and women’s health.
President Barack Obama speaks at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., telling supporters that Governor Mitt Romney's plan will squeeze the middle class.
“If you say you're for equal pay for equal work, but you keep refusing to say whether or not you'd sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia,” he said as the crowd laughed. “If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you supported legislation that would let your employers deny you contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia.”
He concluded by joking that his health care plan would be able to cure anyone suffering from what ails Romney.
“And 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 the promises you've made over the six years you've been running for president, here's the good news. 'Obamacare' covers preexisting conditions! We can fix you up! We've got a cure!” he exclaimed as the audience reached a fever pitch.
Before launching into his new attack line, Obama also renewed his criticism over Romney’s economic plan, again calling it a “sketchy deal” and noting that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called it a “snow job on the American people.”
But most of Obama’s critiques for Romney pertained specifically to women’s issues, which emerged as one of the hottest topics in Tuesday’s presidential debate.
He warned that the next president would potentially have the ability to appoint a new Supreme Court justice, raising the prospect of revisiting the landmark Roe v. Wade decision regarding abortion rights.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Two-year-old Sacha Marzett wears a homemade Obama t-shirt while waiting in line to attend a campaign rally at George Mason University campus October 19, 2012 in Fairfax, Va.
Obama also alluded to Romney’s “binders full of women” comment during the debate.
“When the next president and Congress would tip the balance of the highest court in the land in a way that turns back the clock for women and families for decades to come, you don't want someone who needs to ask for binders of women. You don't want that guy," he said.
Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock responded to the president’s remarks on behalf of the Romney campaign, saying in a statement: "Women haven’t forgotten how we’ve suffered over the last four years in the Obama economy with higher taxes, higher unemployment, and record levels of poverty. President Obama has failed to put forward a second-term agenda -- and when you don’t have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics."
The president returned to the White House after his remarks, from which he'll depart later on Friday for Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, where he’ll prepare for next Monday’s presidential debate.