President Barack Obama coined a new ailment on Friday, accusing Republican adversary Mitt Romney of suffering from “Romnesia” due to his wavering positions on women’s rights and other issues.
“Now, 18 days before the election, Mr. Severely Conservative wants you to think he was severely kidding about everything he said over the last year,” Obama said at a campaign rally in Virginia on Friday. “We got to name this condition that he’s going though. I think it’s called Romnesia.”
"That's what it's called," Obama declared. "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."
The president continued to slam Romney’s stance on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which strengthens the ability of women to sue employers over unequal pay.
"If you say you're for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia," Obama said.
Vice President Joe Biden continued with the criticism on Friday, saying at a separate event in Florida that "Romnesia" was a "bad disease."
"And it's contagious, because all of a sudden Paul Ryan, the budget hawk, the guy who introduced a whole budget plan that actually already passed, it already passed the House of Representatives. All of a sudden he doesn't remember it, he doesn't remember it," he said, referring to Romney's running mate.
Romney has yet to clearly state his position on the law, though an adviser said after the second presidential debate that Romney would not seek to repeal it as president.
"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,” Obama continued. “If you say you will protect a women's right to choose but 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, then you have definitely got Romnesia."
Romney, who claims he does not oppose women’s use of contraception, did voice opposition to a provision included in Obama's health care law that required employers – including Catholic colleges and hospitals – to provide contraception coverage in their insurance plans.
In February, the Obama administration announced what it called a compromise to that rule in which free contraception coverage still must be offered to employees of religiously affiliated institutions, but health insurers - rather than the employers - would have to cover the cost.
Romney affirmed that as president he would repeal Obama's health law, including the contraception provision.
Addressing a crowd at a campaign rally in Daytona Beach, Florida, Romney responded to the president’s onslaught saying, "Have you been watching the Obama campaign lately? It's absolutely remarkable. They have no agenda for the future, no agenda for America, no agenda for a second term. It's a good thing they won't have a second term. They've been reduced to petty attacks and silly word games. Just watch it."
Romney's has said he would seek to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices that would support revisiting and overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion.
Barbara Comstock, a Virginia delegate and Romney campaign surrogate, said Obama was using his attacks to mask his own failed policies.
"When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said, according to CNN.