Presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to defend himself against Etch A Sketch remarks by a staffer while making his one stop in Maryland yesterday. Why does likening him to the child’s toy that can be written on and immediately wiped clean just by shaking it resonate? Because the staffer has inadvertently put his finger on the greatest fear that Republicans who have not warmed up to Romney have—that he will change his positions on a dime.
It might be a good time to buy stock in the Etch A Sketch manufacturer (oops! I hope it’s not made in China!).
Arbutus, Maryland (CNN) – Mitt Romney promised Wednesday that he would not change his positions if he wins the Republican presidential nomination, hours after a top adviser compared the general election to an Etch A Sketch toy and claimed that Romney can “shake it up” and “start all over again” in the fall.
That remark – uttered by longtime Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on CNN Wednesday morning – was pounced on by the Obama campaign and Romney’s GOP rivals, who called it another sign of Romney’s willingness to change his positions for political gain.
The Etch A Sketch quip became such a distraction on the web and on cable that the candidate himself addressed it to reporters after a town hall meeting near Baltimore.
Romney explained that “organizationally,” a general election effort looks very different from a primary campaign. There are larger staffs and more fundraising support.
But he said his positions would remain the same if he wins the nomination.
Romney’s explanation is unlikely to satisfy his Republican opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who both used Etch A Sketch toys as props during the day to accuse Romney of once again shifting his positions.
Here is the Baltimore Sun’s version of the Ehrlich-organized event in Ehrlich’s home town. The Sun begins its story with the Etch A Sketch analogy. I thought it was interesting to see that Romney is going to spend nearly a half million dollars on advertising in Maryland—a lot for the guy who is supposed to win easily here.