WASHINGTON -- Republicans on Sunday dismissed President Barack Obama's new "Romnesia" line, saying it's nothing but a distraction from more important issues they say the president can't defend.
"The very fact that the president has to utter a term like that just is a glaring example of how small the campaign is," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "The Obama campaign has not been one about the future. It hasn't been talking about what they'd do over the next four years to really help rebuild the economy. Instead, they have reduced themselves to very small attacks like 'Romnesia,' which is really quite frankly silly for the president of the United States, as the leader of the free world, to begin uttering."
Obama added the "Romnesia" line to a speech Friday, calling it a "condition" his Republican opponent appears to face.
"We have got to name this condition he is going through," he said at a Fairfax, Va., rally. "I think it is called Romnesia. I think that's what it is called. 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."
He went on to list areas in which he said Romney has changed his position, such as equal pay for equal work, women's access to contraception, abortion rights, tax cuts and support for coal, to roars of approval from the crowd.
"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 have made over the six years you've been running for president, here is the good news: Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions," Obama said. "We can fix you up. We've got a cure. We can make you well."
Madden also said Democrats were too fixated on Romney's statements that he would end federal funding to PBS and that he used "binders full of women" to hire female employees as governor of Massachusetts. He said Obama has made the issues "the central argument" of his campaign.
Another Romney surrogate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that the "Romnesia" line showed Obama's lack of vision.
"That fires up his base, people who are going to vote for him anyway," he said. "But for the rest of Americans who are trying to make up their mind who to vote for, what they're wondering is, 'Well, that’s very cute Mr. President, but what are you going to do for the future?'"
Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, appearing with Madden on "Face the Nation," said, "Romnesia is a playful term to describe what Mitt Romney's actually doing" by moving toward the center as the election gets closer.