President Barack Obama portrayed himself Thursday as a Washington outsider during a Virginia campaign event by criticizing Republican challenger Mitt Romney for vowing to change Washington from the inside.
Romney’s remark was in response to Obama saying that the most important lesson he has learned in office is that Washington cannot be changed from the inside.
“I made this point in Florida. I said, one of the things I learned after four years is — it reminded me that change doesn’t come from the inside. You got to change Washington from the outside. You change it with the help of ordinary Americans who are willing to have their voices heard,” Obama said during the campaign rally in Virginia Beach.
“And for some reason, it’s got Governor Romney really excited and he rewrote his speech and he stood up in a rally and he proudly declared: I’ll get the job done from the inside, which got me thinking, what kind of inside job are you talking about?”
On Sept. 20, Romney said, “[Obama] said he can’t change Washington from inside. He can only change it from outside. Well, we’re gonna give him that chance in November; he’s going outside… I can change Washington, I will change Washington, we’ll get the job done from the inside.”
In the rally, Obama illustrated what he foresees in a Romney presidency.
“If it’s the inside job of rubber stamping the top-down, lobbyist-driven agenda of this Republican Congress, we don’t want that. If it’s the inside job of letting oil companies write energy policy, insurance companies writing health care policy, outsourcers writing our tax code, we don’t need that,” Obama said.
“If it’s the inside job of trying to control the health care choices that women are perfectly capable of making themselves, we’ll take a pass on that. We don’t need an inside job. We want change in Washington.”
Obama insisted that he has “always said” change takes more than one term or one president.
“I’ve always said that change takes more than one term or one president. It takes more than one party. It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you take office,” Obama said on Thursday.
However, in 2009, Obama told NBC News that if he is not able to turn around the economy, he would be facing a “one term proposition.”
“One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. And, you know, a year from now I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress,” Obama said. “But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”