President Barack Obama has forgotten Romnesia.
After using the term to deride Mitt Romney’s changing positions — and to demonstrate some fight to a base worried he didn’t have it in him to campaign anymore — Obama has now abandoned the portmanteau.
“You know, 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,’ Obama said last month, introducing the term.
“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,” the riff would continue. “Obamacare covers preexisting conditions.”
But Obama hasn’t uttered the phrase in a speech since October 25 — days before Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast. At rallies on Thursday and Friday morning, the president’s first since the storm, the line was conspicuously absent.
It is, in part, a mark of the unexpectedly muted tone of a late campaign that has largely been drowned out by Hurricane Sandy. But aides say Obama will bring the term back if Romney has another “episode.” In the meantime, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton have been the water carriers for the term, which while they ruthlessly attacked Romney, also cut into Obama’s own likability.
The Romney campaign had decried the term as a sign of a “flailing” campaign from the start, and aides celebrated the Obama campaign’s decision to cut it from the stump speech.
“President Obama has abandoned a heavily disparaged line, which clearly hasn’t worked,” said a Romney adviser, who charged that Obama is still “desperately search[ing] for a closing argument hours before polls open.”