From the left-leaning Washington Post:
HOST: Is there a concern that Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?FEHRNSTROM: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.
There you have it. Dems, predictably, are pouncing on the remark, arguing that it validates their message that Romney has no core and will say or do anything to get elected.
But you’d think this exchange should have more meaning for conservatives. Fehrnstrom has come awfully close to admitting that the most damaging conservative positions Romney has had to adopt in the primary will be “reset,” and — to continue the Etch A Sketch analogy — can be erased at will if necessary. You’d think conservative reporters and commentators might want to press for a bit of clarification here.
One other point: Note how casually these remarks were greeted by the panel of commentators, as if his kind of thing is just business as usual.
From Philip Klein at the right-leaning Washington Examiner:
This is an incredible admission and a window into the way Romney views politics. Romney ran two races in Massachusetts as a moderate and even a self-described “progressive,” before changing his positions in the run up to his first campaign for president. Just last month, he described himself as “severely conservative” at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But as Fehrnstrom statement suggests, Romney’s appeals to the right are simply a matter of positioning rather than principle, something that can easily be changed once the target audience changes.
If Romney’s fiercest critics wanted to come up with a way to describe Romney’s approach to politics, I don’t think they could have come up with a better analogy than Etch A Sketch. The fact that it’s coming from one of Romney’s long-time aides is stunning. An even scarier thought for conservatives: if the Romney campaign is willing to take them for granted before even clinching the nomination, imagine how quickly Romney would abandon conservatives if he ever made it to the White House
Not helpful? We just report this etchy-sketchy stuff.
Anti-Romneys work fast!
This afternoon, “Etch-a-Sketch” was a U.S. trending topic. Newt Gingrich didn’t waste a moment, either:
Rick Santorum’s staff is on it:
Just ran into Santorum spokeswoman outside Romney Maryland rally. She gave me a miniature Etch-a-Sketch.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) March 21, 2012
And now…let the Twitter fun and games begin!
Voila! Mitt’s Etch-A-Sketch has its own Twitter account, of course…
American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive PAC, has released an online ad: