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Speaking in Sarasota, Fla., Mitt Romney accused President Obama of taking a pessimistic approach to his second term.
"The president today threw in the white flag of surrender again," Romney said. "He said he can't change Washington from the inside. He can only change it from outside. Well we're going to give him a chance in November … His slogan was 'Yes we can.' His slogan now is 'No, I can't.'"
Romney was referring to an appearace by Obama at Univision's candidate forum in which he said "the fact that we haven’t been able to change the tone in Washington is disappointing," explaining that Republicans had focused more on beating him than on negotiations over issues like immigration reform. He said:
"I think that I've learned some lessons over the last four years and the most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside, you can only change it from the outside. That's how I got elected and that's how the big accomplishments like health care got done ... because we mobilized the American people to speak out, that's how we were able to cut taxes for middle class families. So something that I'd really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American poeple so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward."
Update: The Obama campaign issued a response to Romney's speech.
“Once again, Mitt Romney is trying to take the heat off himself by taking the President’s words wildly out of context," Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. "That’s twice in just 48 hours, which sets a new record in desperation. What the President said today is no different than what he has been saying for many years – that change comes from outside Washington, not inside. When Americans came together and stood up to special interests, we reformed health care, cut taxes for the middle class and put in new rules for Wall Street. And, that’s why we have elections. Mitt Romney apparently doesn’t believe that change comes from the American people. Maybe that’s because he has written off half the country in this election, and has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s incapable of standing up to the extreme right wing of the Republican Party—even if it’s in our national interest.”
The campaign provided over a dozen examples of what they considered similar quotes. From his 2008 convention speech: "You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington." And from his 2012 convention speech: "My fellow citizens – you were the change. If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen."