VIRGINIA, USA – President Barack Obama came up with a biting new term Friday, October 19, for what he called rival Mitt Romney's flip-flopping on policy positions – "Romnesia."
The Republican Party hit back quickly, deriding the president's quip as the latest empty gesture from a Democratic incumbent with nothing new to offer.
"Mr Severely Conservative wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year," Obama said at a rally attended by some 9,000 people at a university campus outside Washington.
It marked a clear escalation of the tone the president is employing to attack his Republican rival in the tight race for the White House, with the election less than three weeks away.
The two men face off Monday, October 22, in Florida for the last of three debates, this time focusing on foreign policy.
The president said the former Massachusetts governor used to claim, for instance, that he was the ideal candidate for the conservative movement known as the Tea Party.
"Now, suddenly, he's saying, 'what, who, me?'" Obama said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
"I mean, he's changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping, we've got to name this condition that he's going through. I think it's called 'Romnesia.' That's what it's called. I think that's what he's going through."
The president then rattled off what he said were a series of Romney policy reversals on issues such as women's rights, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the future of the coal industry.
Shortly after Obama's speech, the hashtag #Romnesia began trending on Twitter.
With the crowd now firmly behind him, the president alluded to his health care overhaul, which Republicans derisively call 'Obamacare,' jokingly saying it would cover people who cannot remember what they believe in.
"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 pre-existing conditions," he said.
"We can fix you up. We've got a cure," Obama added.
Republican Party spokesman Brendan Buck responded to the president's coinage of "Romnesia" with a tweet saying: "I'm glad to see the president has found a new gimmick for today." – Agence France-Presse
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