Losing support among women voters and falling behind in the key battleground state of Virginia, President Obama mocked Republican rival Mitt Romney Friday as a candidate who’s apparently forgotten his past conservative stances on women’s issues, a condition the president called “Rom-nesia.”
“He’s forgetting what his own positions are,” Mr. Obama told a largely female audience of about 6,000 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. “And he’s betting you will, too. He’s changing up so much, backtracking and sidestepping, we’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through. I think it’s called Rom-nesia.”
Clearly enjoying the moment and laughing at times at his own punch lines, the president went on to describe the made-up malady. As he spoke, he had his sleeves rolled up and sported a pink band for breast-cancer awareness around his right forearm.
“If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let your employer deny you contraceptive care, you might have a case of Rom-nesia,” Mr. Obama said. “If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up in a primary debate and said you”d be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, man, you’ve definitely got Rom-nesia.”
Mr. Romney is pro-life, but in an interview earlier this month said there was “no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Aides later said he would serve “proudly” as a pro-life president.
Mr. Obama, whose support among women has eroded since his widely-panned performance in the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, joked that he has the cure for Mr. Romney’s forgetfulness — Mr. Obama’s own health care law.
“If you come down with a case of Rom-nesia, 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 pre-existing conditions!” Mr. Obama shouted, his voice growing hoarse. “We can fix you up! We can make you well, Virginia. This is a curable disease.”
Mr. Obama held a campaign rally at the same location in Northern Virginia just a week ago, as polls show him losing ground to the Republican in the state he won four years ago.
He was introduced at the rally Friday by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, who has taken a leave from her job to campaign for the president.
In a response provided by the Romney campaign, Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock, a Republican, said opportunities for women have declined under Mr. Obama.
“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,” she said. “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.
“What is really frightening is that we know a second term for President Obama will bring devastating defense cuts that will cost Virginia over 130,000 jobs, more burdensome regulations, and the biggest tax increase in history on our small businesses and families.” she said. “Mitt Romney’s plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million new jobs and provide greater opportunity for women across our nation, including Virginia.”