I've seen President Obama give a whole lot of speeches, but I honestly can't recall seeing him have as much fun on the stump as he did today in Virginia. The president wasn't just taking on Mitt Romney's record; he was also having a great time doing it.
The Al Smith dinner may have been last night, and both Obama and Romney may have both delivered some great punch lines, but the president's riff on "Romnesia" was at least as funny as any political humor I've seen in a while.
It's a four-minute clip, and for those who can't watch clips online, I'm running a transcript below. That said, this one's worth watching, not just to see the way in which Obama delivers his attack, but also to appreciate the style of the president's closing argument against his challenger.
There are a lot of ways to go after a rival, some more aggressive and abrasive than others, but to paint an opponent as someone who deserves to be literally laughed at may be the most brutal approach of them all.
Here's the transcript:
"But now that we're 18 days out from the election, Mr. 'Severely Conservative' wants you to think he was 'severely kidding' about everything he's said over the last year. He told folks he was 'the ideal candidate' for the Tea Party, now suddenly he's saying, 'what, who, me?' He's forgetting what his own positions are, and he's betting that you will too.
"I mean he's changing up so much, backtracking and sidestepping. We've gotta 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.
"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.
"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 your employer deny you contraceptive care -- you might have a case of Romnesia.
"If you say you'll protect a woman's right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you'd be "delighted" to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases -- man, you've definitely got Romnesia.
"Now, this extends to other issues. If you say earlier in the year I'm going to give a tax cut to the top 1 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, take your temperature, because you've probably got Romnesia.
"If you say that you're a champion of the coal industry when while you were Governor you stood in front of a coal plant and said, 'this plant will kill you' -- that's some 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 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.
"We can fix you up. We've got a cure. We can make you well, Virginia. This is a curable disease.
"Women, men, all of you. These are family issues. These are economic issues. I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as anybody's sons. I believe America does better, the economy grows more, we create more when everybody participates, when everyone's getting a fair shot, everybody's getting a fair shake, everybody's playing by the same rules, everybody's doing their fair share. That's why I'm asking you for another term as President of the United States. I need you to help me finish the job."