By Amie Parnes - 10/23/12 03:38 PM EDT
President Obama accused Mitt Romney of being “all over the map” at his first post-debate rally on Tuesday, seeking to portray his GOP rival as a flip-flopper in the final two weeks before Election Day.
“We’re accustomed to seeing politicians changing their positions from four years ago, but not from four days ago,” Obama told a crowd in the swing state of Florida.
Romney, who has had the momentum in the presidential race ever since a disastrous performance by Obama in the first debate, on Oct. 3, took his shots at the president on Monday night, too. But he pulled some punches — notably on Libya — and was often willing to shake off Obama’s blows as his campaign makes the case the Republican is a viable alternative to Obama.
Romney has led in Gallup’s tracking polls by as much as 7 points in the last week and has also gained ground on Obama in a number of swing states. But Obama is still seen as having an edge in Ohio, a key battleground that could decide the election.
On a conference call with reporters on Tuesday morning, David Axelrod, an Obama campaign senior strategist, pushed back on polls that show the campaign is losing nationally, saying "We have the ball. We have the lead."
"This is a race we believe we're leading," he said. "We believe we're
leading nationally and we're leading in these battleground states."
Later, he added, "there is an illusion of volatility when you have 90 public polls coming out every day."
"The fact of the matter is that this race has been remarkably stable over a long period of time," Axelrod said. "This race has settled into exactly where we thought it would be....it's the race that we prepared for."
Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina also pushed back on reports saying the Obama campaign has given up in battlground states like North Carolina. "We continue to feel like North Carolina is a neck-and-neck race."
The Obama campaign has at times put an emphasis on portraying Romney as too conservative for the nation, but on Tuesday the president focused on hammering home the idea that Romney changes his positions to appeal to different demographic groups.
“We’ve come up with a name for this condition,” Obama told the cheering crowd at Delray Beach. “It’s called Romnesia. We had a severe outbreak last night. It was at least stage 3 Romnesia.”
Referring to the auto bailout, Obama continued, “If you say you love American cars during a debate, but you wrote an article titled ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt’ — you may have Romnesia.”
“If you say how much you love teachers ... but you said a few weeks ago that you wouldn’t hire any more, what do you have?” Obama asked, before the supporters responded “Romnesia.”
“If you say you love Medicare, but your plan turns it into a voucher that ends the guaranteed benefit of Medicare, you’ve got Romnesia,” Obama continued.
The Romney campaign, meanwhile, attacked Obama for not outlining specifics for a second-term agenda.
Romney Policy Director Lanhee Chen wrote a lengthy memo on the subject, noting: "As much as President Obama might try, you can’t gloss over four years like the last four. And you can’t fool the American people into thinking you have a real plan for the future when all you are offering is more of the same. Instead of offering a plan to get our economy back on track and create new jobs, President Obama has just offered them another four years like the last four years."
Obama also sought to make the case that he’s trustworthy and that he has a proven track record of keeping his promises while taking the country in the right direction.
“We joke about Romnesia but this is about trust,” he said. “And there’s no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust.”
“I do what I say,” the president added. “You see me. We’re not where we need to be but we’ve made real progress ... I won’t be running the okeydoke on you.”
— This story was last updated at 12:59 p.m.