The HyperTexts


Here is the definition of Romnesia, a debilitating new disease that now threatens the lives and health of 47% of Americans, or roughly 150 million people:

Rom-ne-sia noun /rom-nē-zhuh/

(1) A state of hysterical mass amnesia induced by a candidate blatantly denying his/her previous political positions, even though they have been indelibly entered into the public record; (2) an individual's failure to recall or admit his/her previous political positions; (3) more specifically, a condition affecting Willard Mitt Romney, who has shifted his positions from liberal to progressive to moderate to conservative to "severely conservative" to "severely kidding"—conveniently forgetting the many wildly contradictory promises he’s made over the six years he’s been running for president of the United States; (4) the condition of being a habitual flip-flopper and/or panderer; (5) a black-out state.

Examples of usage:

It's an amazing thing, and quite a frightening thing, that a nation could be capable of collective Romnesia.
I must have Romnesia, because I said I was "tough on China" when in reality I invested millions in Chinese sweatshops that steal American jobs.
I must have Romnesia, because I said I was "unequivocally" for a woman's right to choose, but would be "delighted" to outlaw all abortions.
I must have Romnesia, because I drove to Canada with my dog strapped to the roof in an air-tight container for eleven hours, then told PETA to get off my back because he loves the fresh air!

Variations: romnesia (uncapitalized), Romneysia, Romneysa, Romneysh*t nouns
Romnesiac or Romnesic adjective or noun
Romnesian adjective

Synonyms: balderdash, bunk, bunkum, hogwash, malarkey, pandering, poppycock, (slang) baloney, bull, crap, hooey, selling ice to Eskimos, selling swampland
Antonyms: accuracy, candor, credibility, factualness, honesty, truthfulness, veracity, (slang) the real McCoy, straight-shooting, not being full of sh*t

Etymology: Romnesia is a modern coinage based on the name of its exemplar nonpareil, the Mormon Bishop, CEO of Bane Kapital and would-be American Führer Willard Mitt Romney, who elevated denial of the past into a political art form. The word is both a pun and a portmanteau combining the name "Romney" and the medical term "amnesia." (The term "Reaganomics" is a similar political portmanteau.) Here is Romney's self-analysis of his peculiar psychological condition: "I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was."

Origin, first known use and history: The word Romnesia was used by American president Barack Obama in a speech he gave at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on Friday, October 19, 2012. The term immediately went viral and was soon generating 18,000 tweets per hour, topping Twitter’s trending topics in the U.S. for several hours—an unusual feat for a political subject. Within around 24 hours, Google was reporting more than two million results for the search term "Romnesia." 

Here is the first popular use of the term:

"Now that we’re 18 days out from the election, Mr. Severely Conservative wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year. He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will too. He told folks he was the ideal candidate for the Tea Party, but now suddenly he's saying, 'What? Who? Me?' 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 Romnesia. That's what it's called. I think that's what he's going through. 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. 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. 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'll protect a woman's right to choose, then 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, man, you have definitely got Romnesia. Now, this extends to other issues. If you say earlier in the year that you're going to give tax cuts for the top one percent, and then in a debate you say, 'I don't know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks,' you need to get a thermometer and take your temperature, because you've probably got Romnesia. If you say that you're a champion of the coal industry, but while you were governor you stood in front of a coal plant and said, 'This plant will kill you,' that's some case of Romnesia. So, I think you're beginning to be able to identify these symptoms. And if you come down with a case of Romnesia and you can’t seem to remember the policies that are still on your Web site, or the promises that you’ve made over the six years you’ve been running for president, here’s the good news: Obamacare covers preexisting conditions."

The earliest known coinage and use of the term "Romnesia" may have been by liberal Twitter user @BreakingNuts, who tweeted on March 23, 2012: "Romnesia: a severe form of amnesia that strikes dishonest politicians. #Romney #GOP #Amnesia #Romnesia." The Nation’s editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel, then retweeted @BreakingNuts to her 55,000+ followers. Subsequently, blogger Brian Rosman on the Health Care for All Massachusetts website created a post entitled "Romnesia" on April 4, 2011. David Corn wrote a Mother Jones article in June 2012 entitled "A Case of Romnesia." Timothy Lange, who goes by Meteor Blades on Daily Kos, used the term in June 2012 to attack Romney’s health care position: "On this matter, the candidate now would like the whole nation to suffer from what he so often does: Romnesia, that public unremembrance the governor loves to apply when what he has done and said in the past is an inconvenient reminder of his political fickleness." In September 2012, George Monbiot of The Guardian wrote an article that began: "We could call it Romnesia: the ability of the very rich to forget the context in which they made their money." But the word didn't really take off and fly until President Obama used it in his speech. The term "Romnesia" debuted in the Urban Dictionary on July 19, 2012, and was made its Word of the Day on October 20, 2012.

Influences: Michael R. Burch, an American political columnist for the Nashville City Paper, in his commentary on President Obama's speech noted certain similarities to Jeff Foxworthy's southern-flavored "If you do X, you might be a redneck" comedy act. For instance, Foxworthy says such things as "If you own a homemade fur coat, you might be a redneck." In such cases, according to Burch, the word "might" is strongly ironic and means "you undoubtedly are, so give up all pretense otherwise and admit it." If Burch is correct, it may be that President Obama is attempting to appeal to the self-deprecating common sense of red-state Southerners, many of whom still support Romney despite his having more flip-flops than Daytona Beach during a spring break wet T-shirt contest. 

Here are examples of Romnesia in action, all provided by Mitt Romney (aka Flip Flopney, Multiple Choice Mitt, Mitt Megaflop, Flipper, etc.):

• "It's not worth moving heaven and earth ... trying to catch one person." ... [but] ... "Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden."
• "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there." ... [but] ... "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam."
• "I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose." ... [but] ... "I never really called myself pro-choice."
• "I like [compulsory health insurance] mandates. The mandates work." ... [but] ... "I think it's unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front."
• "I don’t line up with the NRA." ... [but] ... "I’m a member of the NRA."
• "I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero." ... [but] ... "It’s a tax cut for fat cats."
• "I’m going to take burdens off the back of the auto industry." ... [but] ... "Let Detroit go bankrupt."
• "I believe the world’s getting warmer ... I believe that humans contribute to that." ... [but] ... "My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change."
• "I’m not in favor of privatizing Social Security." ... [but] ... "Social Security’s the easiest and that’s because you can give people a personal account."

Romnesia seems to afflict Mitt Romney nearly every time he talks about womenespecially their reproductive rights, or lack of such. Romney has ranged from calling himself "unequivocally" pro-choice and vowing to preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, to calling himself a "severely conservative" pro-lifer who would be "delighted" to overturn Roe v. Wade and whose "aspiration" is to see all forms of abortion abolished in the United States (a male chauvinist's pipe dream, since rape, incest, life-endangering pregnancies and "accidents" are never going to vanish). Romney supports the Blunt Amendment, which would allow any employer to refuse to include coverage for contraception in employees' health insurance. Thus any male chauvinist could deny his female employees access to contraception through the insurance programs they help fund via payroll deductions. This is not a "church thing." A man could deny contraceptive coverage to his female employees, even if his business is entirely secular. His freedom of religion and conscience would trump their freedom of religion and conscience, and their right to decide whether or not to become mothers.

Examples of Tweets Containing the Hashtag #Romnesia

Romnesia: a severe form of amnesia that strikes dishonest politicians. #Romney #GOP #Amnesia #Romnesia. @BreakingNuts
@BarackObama diagnoses Mitt Romney's pre-existing condition: #Romnesia, a failure to recall previous extreme stances.
@MittRomney: If you say you solicited women to your cabinet but they actually had to chase you, you may have #Romnesia.
Good news: Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions—like "#Romnesia."
As governor of #MA, @MittRomney supported action on #climatechange. Now he uses it as a punchline. #romnesia
Death by #Romnesia is now playing in a swing state near you!
#Romnesia is contagious and spreading! It’s the Black Death of truth, justice and the American Way! The only cure is to vote.
Romney, it must be difficult keeping the lies straight. Not knowing what you said, when you said it or even what you stand for. @JenGranholm
Boy, I tell you what, I hope y’all don’t get #Romnesia. It’s a bad disease. It’s contagious. Please, don’t let anybody in your family become a moron! @JoeBiden

Romnesia is Contagious and Spreading

The day after President Obama introduced "Romnesia" into the popular lexicon, Vice President Joe Biden told a cheering crowd that the debilitating disease has already spread to and infected Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. When Biden introduced the term, several of the 950 supporters packed into a basketball gym began shouting "Romnesia!" Biden said of Romney, "That man is contagious. Congressman Ryan caught it as well," to loud cheers. Biden then pointed out that Ryan, a Wisconsin Congressman, is now forgetting budget cuts he oversaw and passed in the House. "He says we don't cut the budget, we just slowed the growth of the budget. Well, tell that to all those folks on Medicare. Tell that to all those folks on Medicaid," Biden said. "Congressman Ryan saying that his budget doesn't decimate Medicare and eviscerate education, that's like Mitt Romney standing in an unemployment line and turning to a guy and saying, 'You know what? I didn't outsource your job, I just offshored it.'" Biden attacked the Romney/Ryan ticket as not supporting women and favoring economic and tax policies that favor the rich over the middle class, a "trickle down" policy that has always failed in the past. Biden even invoked Republican President Ronald Reagan to make his case. "I served with Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan said he did not think that a millionaire should pay at a lower (tax) rate than a bus driver paid. What happened to the Republican Party?" Biden said. "That's not some liberal idea, that was Ronald Reagan."

Blind Trust Boondoggle

Romnesia is evident in Mitt Romney's waffling remarks about his and his wife's blind trusts:

Never mind that Mitt Romney has an estimated net worth as high as $250 million, or that some of it has been invested in offshore accounts of a sort never held by any previous presidential contender. He assures us that his assets are held in a "blind trust" over which he exerts no control. But just how blind are such trusts, anyway? In Romney’s case, apparently not quite blinkered enough to keep his trustee—who is also his personal lawyer and longtime friend Bradford Malt—from investing more than $10 million of Romney’s money in an investment fund managed by Romney’s son Tagg. In 1994, when he was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, Romney attacked Kennedy for disclaiming any responsibility for his investments, declaring at one point: "The blind trust is an age-old ruse." He takes a different tack today, but even his own spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, has acknowledged that if he’s elected, he’ll move his wealth into a new, stricter blind trust, governed by federal rules.—Vanity Fair

Mitt Romney said that "The blind trust is an age-old ruse ... you can always tell a blind trust what it can and cannot do." So what did he tell his blind trust to do, and his wife’s? It seems he told his blind trust to invest $10 million in his son’s investment fund. And according to an article by Greg Palast in The Nation, the Romneys made millions from the auto bailout, while auto parts plants were being shuttered and American jobs were being outsourced to China:

Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.’ But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment. [Most of the money was made by the federal government bailing out the hedge fund owners of auto part manufacturer Delphi.] ... Now, of the twenty-nine Delphi plants operating in the United States when the hedge funders began buying up control, only four remain, with not a single union production worker. Romney’s "job creators" did create jobs—in China, where Delphi now produces the parts used by GM and other major automakers here and abroad. Delphi is now incorporated overseas, leaving the company with 5,000 employees in the United States (versus almost 100,000 abroad). Third Point’s Daniel Loeb, whose net worth of $1.3 billion owes much to his share in the Delphi windfall, told his fund’s backers this past July that Delphi remains an excellent investment because it has "virtually no North American unionized labor" and, thanks to US taxpayers, "significantly smaller pension liabilities than almost all of its peers."—The Nation

I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back."—Mitt Romney, speaking about the American auto industry, despite having written in "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" that if GM, Ford and Chrysler got a government bailout "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye."

Keeping the Lies Straight

As I predicted earlier this week, Romney had an October Surprise planned for the President—new policy ideas. But I had no idea that Romney would just lie about everything he had said over the past year and a half. As the President said, Mitt Romney’s bright new idea is: "Never Mind!" But there was a moment in the debate that will be discussed in the days ahead that everyone missed until yesterday. A review of the debate tape reveals that, apparently, Mitt Romney needed a cheat sheet to keep the lies straight.—Bill Buck

Magic Asterisks

Romney is reprising the three contradictory budgetary promises that President Reagan made during the 1980 campaign. Reagan’s OMB Director David Stockman admitted no plan could produce the three promises. Stockman’s job was to lie in order to cover up the fact that the administration had no plan that could simultaneously (1) cut taxes, (2) end the budget deficit, and (3) increase military spending. Stockman invented the "magic asterisk" to hide the truth from the public. It is mathematically impossible. Romney and Ryan’s primary lie is that they have a secret plan to cut taxes, cut the deficit, and increase military spending. Ryan claimed during the debate that he could not tell the voters the plan because then it would not be secret and this would somehow prevent a bipartisan agreement to adopt the secret plan after the election. On September 30, 2012, however, Ryan told Fox News he could not tell them his secret plan because " it would take me too long to go through all the math." Ryan’s secondary series of lies is required to cover up the primary lie. He cannot keep his cover-up lies straight. He tried out the first version ("it would take me too long to go through all the math") on Fox, the most Republican turf in media, and was ridiculed. His handlers developed a new lie to cover up the primary lie that there is a secret plan to reduce the deficit. Ryan’s handlers think their new lie is clever bit of alchemy, transmuting the "lead" of Ryan and Romney’s constant refusal to give any facts about their (non-existent) secret plan into the "gold" of bipartisanship.—William Black

Morphin' Mitt

In a blow to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Utah's largest newspaper today slammed his candidacy and endorsed President Obama instead. Despite being credited for saving the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and making Utah his home at one time, the Salt Lake City Tribune said that the state's "favorite adopted son," Romney, has become "the party's shape-shifting nominee." The article said that "In considering which candidate to endorse, the Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem-solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust. Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first."

Finally Liberated From Facts, Mitt Romney the Pure Bull Artist Takes Flight
by Matt Taibbi

You know those Balsa wood airplanes—not the glider-types but the deluxe models, powered by rubber bands, with little propellers on the nose? I thought of those planes watching Mitt Romney debate Barack Obama the other night.

Romney's journey toward the presidency has been a marvel to behold. Dating back to his first political steps—his race against Ted Kennedy, followed by his assault on the Massachusetts governorship—Romney has been constantly twisting and contorting himself, exchanging position for position, trading pro-choice for anti-choice, flirting with pro-gay rhetoric before shifting swiftly the other way, pioneering state health care reform before bashing virtually the same plan designed on a national scale, claiming the center on everything from guns to global warming before careening right as a presidential candidate.

Then, just within this year, the contortions took him all the way around again, in a corkscrewish motion, as he first careened as far right as he could stand to win the primary season, and then twisted some more to come all the way back to his version of the center to run as a kindler, gentler sort of centrist alternative to Obama. I was shocked to hear him say aloud in the second debate that the richest people would not have their tax burdens reduced, especially since he spent the entire primary season running as a supply-sider who would create growth by cutting taxes on capital gains, interest, dividends, and eliminating the estate tax, cuts that overwhelmingly favor the very rich.

From the start of the first debate, Romney has almost seemed liberated, spouting line after line of breathless, ecstatic inventions—things that are, if not lies exactly, at the very least just simply made up out of thin air, and seemingly on the spot, too. The business about the $25,000 "bucket" of deductions which he prefaced, with seemingly half of America watching, with the phrase, "Let's pick a number": awesome. Then there was the jobs plan that creates 12 million jobs, another number seemingly plucked out of the ether: it turned out that when asked to justify the number, the Romney campaign cited three studies, none of which came anywhere near justifying claims of a 12 million-job increase ...

That jobs line is when I thought of the Balsa wood plane. Romney has spent his whole political career being so careful: in all his previous races, he's used his admittedly very quick mind and slick presentation skills to walk one political tightrope and rhetorical razor-edge after another, trying to run as a pseudo-conservative Republican in traditionally liberal Massachusetts, while in primary season this year, he tried his best to maintain a whiff of centrist cred as a national politician even as the immediate demands of the Republican primaries forced him to veer sharply right. The psychic energy it takes to internally manage all of those past contortions (and future calculations) while publicly walking a razor's edge is no joke: it takes a special man to do it.

But now Romney's finally all the way to the endgame, and he's just letting go. No more being careful, and weighing himself down on debate stages with painstakingly parsed positions (this was frequently the situation in the primaries, where Romney's performances were always restrained and cautious, even when he "won"). Now there's no more future to worry about and he's just casting off from his moorings and being what he basically is at heart, which is a salesman and bullshit artist of the highest order.

Romney's realized that numbers don't matter, and past facts don't even matter that much: he's run all fall on completely made-up, mathematically-incoherent jobs and tax plans, and not only is he not suffering, he's made it all the way to a statistical tie with the president (or even a lead, if you believe the Gallup polls), and the presidency is in sight. He's finally released the burden of all those internal contradictions, and the inventions and devious distortions are coming so fast and so furious now, it's energized him psychologically, and he seems to be taking flight before our eyes.

When Obama tried to nail him on his record on contraception, noting that Romney had suggested that employers should be able to decide whether or not to allow insurance coverage of contraceptives, Romney effortlessly replied: "I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives."

Now, I suppose that's technically true, in the sense that Mitt Romney never suggested that Bill Gates should be able to physically prevent any Microsoft employee from going to her corner store to buy condoms, but that pretty clearly was not what they were talking about. Obama tried to protest, but the moment was past, and Romney looked jazzed. You could see him thinking: "This just saying-anything-that-pops-into-my-head thing is great!" Over and over again he went to that well. The stat about 583,000 women having lost their jobs under Obama—where the hell did that number come from ?

It doesn't matter. None of it really matters, at this point. Romney has all of America right now running head-scratching analyses of his tax and jobs plans, trying to figure out if there's any way the numbers fit. But my guess is, independent voters are not reading those dense commentaries, and instead are responding more to the general vibe surrounding Romney's campaign, which is clearly benefitting from the fact that he's being so aggressive that the whole world is left scrambling to react to his bullshit.

I think the new strategy, rather than try to swim down into the deep waters of Romney's bogus plans, should be to stay on the surface and simply ask him simple questions. For instance, on his convoluted tax plan, just ask these two questions:

1) You've talked a lot about who's getting a tax break under your plan. But who's paying more? Where's the pain coming from?

2) If there is no pain, and the whole thing really is "revenue neutral," WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT?

Now, cynically, we know what the "point" is. The point is to win an election by promising a 20% tax cut with one hand while promising that nobody will have to pay for it with the other. It's brilliant stuff—the ecstasy of pure bull. I'm not sure how Obama counters it, but he'd better think of something, fast.

[I think President Obama may have just done that, with the invention of the perfect word, romnesia, and the ridicule of Romney that it inspires. If voters can’t do all the math themselves, they can still grok the character of a man who whose constant flip-flopping has earned him nicknames like Flip Flopney, Multiple Choice Mitt, Flipper and Weather Vain.]

Multiple Choice Mitt Turns Women’s Reproductive Rights into a Game of Political Craps

In 2007, when Romney was asked about the landmark ruling, he said that Americans are not ready to ban abortion but that personally: "I'd like to see Roe v. Wade overturned ... And of course it's our aspiration that at some point we'll see a nation that doesn't have abortion."

So there you have it: Romney would like to not only junk Roe v. Wade, but also get rid of abortion entirely. Romney also supports a Republican bill, the Blunt Amendment, which would allow any employer to refuse to include coverage for contraception in employees' health insurance. Thus, any alpha male employer can deny his female employees access to affordable contraception. 

Romney reignited the abortion issue when he told the Des Moines Register that he did not know of any abortion-related legislation that would be part of his agenda. The Register asked Romney why he was gaining ground with women voters. Romney said that one reason was that he was able to clarify his positions on issues like abortion. The newspaper followed up by asking, "Do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion?"

"There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney replied. This statement was at odds with his earlier position that he would support anti-abortion legislation in Congress. Last year, in a National Review op-ed , Romney listed specific legislation he would push as president. He promised to "advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" and "support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood."

The Romney campaign quickly clarified its position in an email to National Review Online. Spokesperson Andrea Saul said , "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

Democrats saw Romney's comments as an "etch-a-sketch moment," an effort to repaint his image on the issue of abortion. President Barack Obama told ABC News that Romney has promised to support legislation and Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Romnesia Time-Line

ThinkProgress has compiled a time-line of Romney’s constantly-changing stance on women's reproductive rights:

5/27/1994: Romney supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. During a 1994 Massachusetts Senate debate, Romney emphasized his commitment to supporting a women’s right to safe and legal abortions. "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country," he said. "I have since the time my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice."

9/8/1994: A Romney spokesperson says Mitt has been consistently pro-choice. After Sen. Edward Kennedy’s campaign criticized Romney for not being a true supporter of abortion rights, a Romney spokesperson told reporters, "Mitt has always been consistent in his pro-choice position."

9/21/2002: Romney is "unequivocally" pro-choice.

In a 2002 interview with WBZ-TV, Ann and Mitt sought to clarify that Mitt Romney will not limit women’s reproductive freedom. "When asked whether I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer—yes," Romney said.

5/27/2005: Romney is pro-life, but says he will maintain the pro-choice status quo. Romney committed to keeping the current pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in place, deferring on his own beliefs on the subject of abortion because he says they are a distraction. "I’m absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice, and so far I’ve been able to successfully do that," Romney said at a news conference.

07/26/2005: Romney vetoes pro-choice legislation. Romney vetoed a bill that would have allowed women in Massachusetts access to emergency contraception in pharmacies and hospitals. In an op-ed explaining his decision, he wrote, "I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view."

8/12/2007: Romney says he has never been pro-choice. Romney told Fox News that he never called himself pro-choice. "I never allowed myself to use the word pro-choice because I didn’t feel I was pro-choice," Romney said. "I would protect the law, I said, as it was, but I wasn’t pro-choice."

10/28/2007: Romney supports a federal bill to ban abortion across the country. In a Republican primary debate in 2007, Romney said he would be "delighted" to sign a bill banning abortion across the country. "I would welcome a circumstance where there was such a consensus in this country that we said we don’t want to have abortion in this country at all, period," he said. "That would be wonderful … but that’s not where America is today. Where America is, is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the states that authority."

11/30/2007: Romney supports overturning Roe v. Wade and returning control over abortion laws to the states. At a town hall meeting, Romney said that abortion laws should be determined by the states. "I would like, for instance, to see Roe v. Wade overturned — and by overturning Roe v. Wade, you would effectively be returning to the people and the states the ability to create their own legislation as it relates to abortion and life," he said.

8/7/2007: Romney supports expanding the definition of the 14th Amendment to include unborn children, which would outlaw all abortions under any circumstances. During an appearance on Good Morning America, Romney confirmed that he supported the so-called "human life amendment" in the 2004 GOP platform that would extend the 14th Amendment’s protections to fetuses, and outlaw abortions without any exceptions. "I do support the Republican Platform and I support that being part of the Republican Platform," he said.

8/16/2007: Romney qualifies his stance on the Human Life Amendment to say he might not actually support it. After his Good Morning America appearance, Romney walked back his stance on the 14th Amendment after discussing it with one of his advisers. When reporters asked him to clarify whether or not he actually supported a constitutional amendment banning all abortions, Romney said, "I’m pro-life; it would be great if we could just leave it at that."

1/23/2012: On the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Romney said that it marked "one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history" and recommitted himself to "reversing that decision, for in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America."

6/18/2012: Romney lays out a "pro-life pledge" that outlines the anti-abortion legislation he would support as president. Romney reiterates his support for anti-choice policies in an op-ed in the National Review Online, including banning federal funding for abortion under the Hyde Amendment, denying funds for voluntary family planning services in foreign countries under the "global gag rule," overturning Roe v. Wade, and appointing anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court.

8/27/2012: Romney broadens his support for rape exceptions to include exceptions in the case of the "health of the mother." Until this point, Romney had typically argued that abortion should only be limited to rape, incest, or life of the mother. But in an interview with CBS, Romney broadened his rhetoric to say that he is in "favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother."

8/27/2012: A Romney adviser says that Mitt’s stance on abortion has remained unchanged. Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul clarified that, even though Romney appeared to have shifted to favor a health exception in his abortion stance, his position on abortion did not change. "Gov. Romney’s position is clear: he opposes abortion except for cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is threatened," she said in a statement.

8/27/2012: Romney believes abortion is not a political issue because it should be settled by the courts. In the same CBS interview, Romney said that abortion "is a decision that will be made by the Supreme Court."

8/28/2012: Romney’s sister says that Mitt won’t be touching abortion because it’s not his focus. In an interview with the National Journal, Jane Romney said that her brother would never make abortions illegal as president. "He’s not going to be touching any of that. It’s not his focus," she said. Calling Democratic concerns about restricted access to reproductive rights unfounded scare tactics, Jane said she believes "Mitt’s much more in the middle" when it comes to abortion.

10/9/2012: Romney says he does not plan to enact anti-abortion legislation as president. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney suggested that he would not focus on abortion issues as president. "There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda," he said.

10/10/2012: Romney will be a pro-life president, but still will not name specific abortion-related legislation that he will enact in office. Romney reiterated his support for anti-choice policies, such as regulating abortion at the state level and cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. "I am pro-life, I’ll be a pro-life president," he said. "I will take pro-life measures, but those happen to be executive-order and budget measures, as opposed to legislation, at least so far as I’m aware." When he was asked about the possibility of a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade, Romney said, "That’s not where America is now."

In the 1994 debate during the Massachusetts Senate race, Kennedy derided Romney as having a "multiple choice" stance on abortion. Mitt Romney’s constantly shifting positions—which his surrogates admit are a strategy to help him win votes—seem to have lived up to that label. Romney has said that America is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, and that America is not ready. He has said that he is unequivocally pro-choice, and unequivocally pro-life. What he has not ever said, is that he admits he has no business telling women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. He is a male chauvinist, with an inflated opinion of his own opinion, even though it wavers like the wind.

More Examples of Romnesia

Mitt Romney called President Obama's payroll tax plan a "temporary little band-aid." But when the American public favored an extension, Romney flip-flopped, saying he would "like to see the payroll tax cut extended."

Mitt Romney desperately needed Tea Party support to win the GOP nomination this year. That's why he insisted that he's "just as conservative as I was four years ago. Maybe more so." He also called himself a "severely conservative governor." But in 2002, when Romney needed independents' support, he sang a very different tune, saying: "I think people recognize that I'm not a partisan Republican, that I'm someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive."

Mitt Romney supported John McCain and Ted Kennedy's 2007 immigration reform, which provides a pathway to citizenship for people who entered the country illegally. Now that he's running for president, Romney wants to throw out undocumented veterans and split up families who have been here for decades.

Conflicting Couplets

"I think you'll find that I've been as consistent as human beings can be as I look at those issues and as I try and apply those principles to government." [ editorial board interview, 11/3/11]
"If you're looking for someone who's never changed any positions on any policies, then I'm not your guy." [Meet The Press, 12/16/2007]

"I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice." [Massachusetts Senatorial Debate, Boston Herald and Boston Globe, 10/25/94]
"And that is why, as a pro-life Republican, I am in favor of having the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade." [Hannity And Colmes, Fox, 9/5/07]

"I'm not willing to sit back and say, 'Too bad for Michigan, too bad—too bad for the car industry, too bad for the people who've lost their jobs. They're gone forever." [New York Times, 1/14/08]
"That's exactly what I said. The headline you read which said ‘let Detroit go bankrupt' points out that those companies needed to go through bankruptcy to shed those costs." [CBS News, Early Show, 6/3/11]

"At the time I crafted the plan [Romneycare] in the last campaign I was asked is this something you would have the whole nation do, and I said no. This is something that was crafted for Massachusetts. It would be wrong to adopt this as a nation." [CNN GOP Presidential Debate, 10/18/11]
In Massachusetts, "[I] was able to put in place a plan that helped get health insurance premiums down, and gets all of our citizens insured. If we can do that nationally, we help ... the entire nation." [CNN, 1/14/08]

"He [President Obama] didn’t create the recession, but he made it worse, and longer." [CNN GOP Debate, 6/13/11]
"I didn't say that things are worse." [Romney, Allentown Pennsylvania, 6/30/11]

"I was an Independent during the time of Reagan/Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan/Bush." [Massachusetts Senatorial Debate, Boston Herald and Boston Globe, 10/25/94]
"The right way for America to proceed when we face the kind of challenges we face is to pursue the strategy which Ronald Reagan pursued when we faced the challenges of the last century." [Meet The Press, 11/16/07]

"I don't think that I've ever hired an illegal in my life." [CNN GOP Presidential Debate, 10/18/11]
"We hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrats who were working there." [CNN GOP Presidential Debate, 10/18/11]

"I think there is need for economic stimulus. Americans have lost about $11 trillion in net worth … And government can help make that up in a very difficult time." [CNN, Late Edition, 1/4/09]
"I have never supported the President's Recovery Act... No time, no where, no how have I supported the President's stimulus." [Romney Town Hall, Goffstown NH, 9/28/11]

"I'm all in favor of keeping taxes down and keeping burdens down on American businesses and employers. I want employers and entrepreneurs to have every incentive to open businesses and to start creating jobs." [Your World With Neil Cavuto, 8/22/11]
"Look, I don't like temporary little Band-Aids." [Bloomberg/Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate, 10/11/11]

"So there are some tax proposals that are called a flat tax that I don't agree with because they end up being huge breaks for the highest income Americans of which I happen to have been one, still am, and I'm not looking for a tax break for me." [Nashua, NH, 8/8/11]
"I love a flat tax." [Nashua, NH, 8/8/11]

"I believe the world's getting warmer. I can't prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that." [Manchester, NH, 6/3/2011]
"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." [Pittsburgh, PA, 10/26/2011]

Mitt Moneybags

A day after his defeats in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, Mitt Romney pounded Republican presidential rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich as big-spending Washington insiders whose careers show scant evidence of fiscal restraint. The Republican Party, Romney said, "lost its way" by borrowing and spending too much, particularly on the pet projects "earmarked" by members of Congress. Under Newt Gingrich, earmarks doubled," Romney told reporters on an airport tarmac. "Rick Santorum was a major earmarker and continues to defend earmarks." In Romney’s opinion, "Republicans spent too much money, borrowed too much money, earmarked too much, and Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have to be held accountable."

But in reality, Mitt Romney by his own admission loves to get money from Washington, and is an expert at doing just that ...

I am a big believer in getting money where the money is. The money is in Washington.—Mitt Romney

I want to go after every grant, every project, every department in Washington to assure that we are taking advantage of economic development opportunities..—Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan claim to be "fiscal conservatives" who abhor government spending and can fix America's economic problems with quick waves of their magical wands. But the truth is that Romney and Ryan both supported huge federal bailouts, as long as their rich patrons, cronies and constituents got most of the loot. Paul Ryan effusively praised George W. Bush's 2002 federal stimulus package, which mostly benefitted wealthy Americans by lowering their taxes. And even as he was damning President Obama's much fairer 2009 stimulus package, Ryan was lobbying for millions of stimulus funds for his constituents. Mitt Romney accepted a huge federal bailout of the Olympics, bragging that he knew how to get money from the federal government, then claimed that he "saved" the Olympics when it was really "we the people" who did the saving with our tax dollars. The only thing Romney's and Ryan's magic wands will accomplish, if we are foolish enough to elect them, is to reduce taxes on the richest 1% of Americans to below 1%, leaving the rest of us to pay thousands more in taxes even as we get smaller Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits when we are no longer able to work. That ain't magic, it's highway robbery.

I've learned from my Olympic experience [that] if you have people that really understand how Washington works and have personal associations there you can get money to help build economic development opportunities ... We actually received over $410 million from the federal government for the Olympic games. That is a huge increase over anything ever done before and we did that by going after every agency of government.—Mitt Romney

Romney even cited more than $1 million that one his colleagues managed to get for the Olympics from the Department of Education, in the form of ticket purchases, concluding:

That kind of creativity I want to bring to everything we do.—Mitt Romney

"In this race, I'm the only guy that hasn't spent time in Washington," Romney said. "And Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich, they are the very Republicans who acted like Democrats. And when Republicans act like Democrats, they lose. And in Newt Gingrich's case he had to resign. In Rick Santorum's case, he lost by the largest margin of any Senate incumbent since 1980."

But it seems Romney did spend a lot of time in Washington, using his personal associations there to get large sums of money for the Olympics and the state of Massachusetts. And it seems that he, too, would have lost if he had run for re-election as governor, as his job approval rating by the end of his first term was in the range of 60% to 65% negative.

More Abortion Madness

"I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they can have contraceptive care or not," Romney said. "Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives, and the president’s statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong."

Obama’s support for his claim centers on the Blunt amendment. Early this year, congressional Republicans made a big push to roll back a provision by Health and Human Services under Obama’s health care law that requires most employers to provide birth control coverage without any out-of-pocket costs, with a limited exception for certain religious institutions. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sponsored an amendment that would exempt employers from providing any service that went against their "beliefs or moral convictions." A few weeks later, with a vote on the Blunt amendment pending, Romney was asked where he stood. He told a Boston radio interviewer, "Of course I support the Blunt amendment.", a conservative news service, put the question directly to the Romney campaign: "Will Mitt Romney, on day one, rescind this mandate in its entirety — as the Catholic Church has urged the current administration to do — so that individuals, employers and insurers who have a ‘moral or religious objection to contraception or sterilization’ will not be forced to violate the tenets of their own faith or act against their consciences?"

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams responded: "Yes. Gov. Romney would rescind the mandate in its entirety."

In April, Romney reiterated his opposition to the rule at a meeting of the National Rifle Association. He said, "As president, I will abolish it."

So the Obama campaign argues if Romney supports an employer’s ability to decline to provide a service that goes against "beliefs or moral convictions," that means he supports employers making "the decision as to whether or not a woman gets contraception through her insurance coverage."

But women's health groups are not fooled, or amused. Planned Parenthood Action Fund Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said, "The Romney team knows that Mitt Romney's real agenda for women's health is deeply unpopular — ending safe and legal abortion, ending Planned Parenthood's preventive care that millions of people rely on, and repealing the Affordable Care Act and the coverage of birth control with no copay."

The HyperTexts