We've noticed how some of the things Mitt Romney's made a major part of his campaign started out as obsessions of conservative blogs -- "you didn't build that," the 47 percent -- and now President Obama is borrowing from his blogging allies. At a Virginia rally Friday, Obama said that Romney is "changing up so much, we’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through—I think it’s called 'Romnesia.' If you come down with a case of Romnesia, and you can’t seem to remember the policies on your website… Here's the good news. Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions."
Romnesia, which is now trending on Twitter, is not a new coinage from the campaign. It's been going around Facebook all this month in the image at right, posted by the group Being Liberal. The kind of people tweeting as Big Bird -- actually the letters BLDBLRD -- have been using it for a while: "Romnesia (noun) - When a politician can't remember what he said earlier in the day. See also: outright liar, panderer…" Likewise, the account @SECrapp (which appears to have been created in opposition to conservative pundit S.E. Cupp), was tweeting the hashtag at various media organizations with this photo October 11.
The actress Eliza Dushku, whose mom was on the feminist Mormon group that pushed Romney to change some church rules while he was a bishop in Boston, used the hashtag when tweeting her mom's story October 11. So Obama neither deserves credit for the neologism nor blame for the pun.
Update: Successful neologisms have many fathers. We got several emails claiming credit for "Romnesia." The blog at Health Care for All used the term in an April 4, 2011 post about Romneycare. A reader writes in to say Democratic Underground came up with the Romnesia chart first.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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