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Etch a Sketch Comment About Romney’s Policy Does its Damage
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Mitt Romney’s senior aide Eric Fehrnstrom has unwittedly given his opponents a disparaging metaphor for the Republican presidential candidate. When asked if Romney had moved too far to the right in his campaign for the republican nominee, and whether he would hold his ground against Obama, the aide said that “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 it all over again.” The metaphor turned out to be a bit too apt, and both Democrats and competing Republicans Santorum and Gingrich are jumping all over it.

“Team Romney says if Mitt is GOP nominee, he’ll hit reset button for gen election. Where does that leave conservatives,” tweeted Santorum Thursday.

“Etch a Sketch is a great toy but a losing strategy,” tweeted Gingrich.


Santorum’s adviser Alice Stewart commented on the gaff, saying that it “confirms what a lot of conservatives have been afraid of.”

Milking it for what its worth, both Santorum and Gingrich have used Etch a Sketches as props to criticize Romney. Said Steve Benen, who contributed to a liberal talk show hosted by Rachel Maddow, “It’s the kind of line that reinforces the worst possible fears about Mitt Romney’s entire candidacy – he doesn’t even care what he’s saying to voters right now, because it’ll all be thrown out the window in a few months anyway.”

Even Republicans are agreeing. Daniel Horowitz, who writes a conservative blog, wrote on Thursday, “We’ve been at a loss to encapsulate our opposition into a one-liner; a bumper sticker. After all, it takes copious pages of ink to explain the extent of Romney’s hypocrisy on the issue of healthcare alone. Yet, let in the 11th hour of the campaign, when it’s probably too late to make a difference, we have finally discovered our symbol that exemplifies Romney.”

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He is probably overstating the aptness of the metaphor, however, as similar metaphors can and have been made regarding chalk-boards, being two-faced, talking out both sides of his mouth, etc., but this metaphor at least delivers the punch of coming straight from the horse’s mouth.

Many commentators have picked up the playful metaphor and run with it. 20 demonstrators with the National Abortion Rights Action League have protested Romney’s proposal to end federal support to Planned Parenthood using Etch a Sketches as props. It might be a whole week before the media plays this one dead.


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