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Memo to all Team Romney members: Don't say stuff like this

The news is mostly good for Team Romney this morning, but not all, at least for those who like a good gaffe.

Romney campaign senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom was on CNN this morning and was asked whether Romney has had to move so far to the right to secure the nomination that he will have trouble appealing to moderate swing voters in the fall. Replied 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." (Taegan Goddard posted the video here, although you have to sit through a couple of minutes of the interview before you hit the etch-a-sketch gaffe).

Oy. Talk about reinforcing the wrong "narrative." Romney is already haunted by his reputation for changing positions on key issues to fit the political needs of the moment. In one of the debates, Romney himself made a fairly pitiful defense of his "steadiness and constancy." Although the question was about his changes in policy positions, he replied that he's been married to the same woman for 42 years and has remained a Mormon his whole life. These were transparent efforts to change the subject to the number of wives and religions Newt Gingrich has enjoyed in his lifetime.

But even that was better than the etch-a-sketch metaphor.

Didn't take long for Team Santorum to notice. Said Santorum in Harvey, Louisiana this a.m.:

"One of Governor Romney's aides today on television said that Gov Romney, after he wins the primaries, will be like an Etch A Sketch. You take whatever he said and you can shake it up and it will be gone and he's going to draw a whole new picture for the general election," said Santorum. "Well, that should be comforting to all of you who are voting in this primary. That whoever you are going to vote for is going to be a completely new candidate, remove all trace of any kind of marks and be able to draw a new picture. Maybe a picture sort of like when he ran for governor of Massachusetts, not as a conservative. One thing you can say--even my staunchest critics will say--is what you see is what you get."

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Comments (14)

Romney has to be one of the

Romney has to be one of the most verbally-hobbled candidates in history.

He can't talk about: his religion; his family history; his vision to transform America in line with his beliefs; his experience as a governor; his private work experience; his acquisition of wealth; his deep background as a conservative; his deep background as a moderate--on and on.

With so many "filters" that he has to strain his speech through, it is amazing that any sound at all comes through. It certainly explains in a large part why he says little of substance and often sounds so unnatural.

The remark in question comes at 3:20

I'm sure the Obama campaign is waiting for the first reporter to question Romney on it.

I'm not a Romney fan

But when the GOP starts running the ads of the Obama flip flops and broken campaign promises, anything Romney has said will pale in comparison.

You just keep telling

You just keep telling yourself that buddy.

Being a fan isn't required

I seriously doubt it will *pale in comparison,* but it might make for an interesting comparison, and I hope a reputable journalist with the time and inclination will do that if it becomes an issue in the campaign, as I suspect it might. Offhand, I can't think of anyone running for national office, and who's spent a couple of decades in politics preparing for that run, who hasn't changed his/her mind about *something* over the course of a political career. It'd be interesting to see who's changed his mind about what. As plenty of others have pointed out in dozens of different publications, the temptation to tell potential voters what they want to hear, even if it's different from the last group of potential voters you spoke to, is almost overwhelming. A dedicated researcher could probably find examples of "flip-flops" that go back to Jefferson or Madison. I can think of a couple myself…

You mean


As usual, Dennis, you are a victim of your own wishful thinking

Currently Obama is ahead of Romney in talmost every poll I know, even the always tilted Republican poll, Rasmussen:

Real Clear Politics

And when the Obama campaign gets all the material for their political commercials generated by the "kamikaze krew" - Romney opponents - the election will be a walkover. Romney will not know what hit him and can return to playing with his Etch-a-Sketch.

That's really the reason why you, and many other right wingers, are not Romney fans. Because he is sure to lose the election. Of course, so would Santorum, Gingrich, or Paul...

Sad commentary on the perspicacity of the GOP big cigars.

Mr Flip Flop versus the Ayatollah

Romney has to flip flop because he has to get by the Republican base which is full the most backward of biblical literalists. Santorum can vow to set up a religious kingdom and the so-called constitutional conservatives will vote for him. Then when he gets past the primary he can focus on stripping the wealth from America for his 1% buddies. Santorum is too dumb and self righteous to take back all his boners.

Good Grief

That kind of remark really is simply terrible judgment.

Bill, how confident are you that a few points lead will stand up for the next five months?

The thing is...

The guy was being honest, he's just not supposed to say this stuff out loud. We all know that Romney the only one who's got a shot, and no Republican wins a general election playing to the Republican base which at this point cannot deliver the enough votes. With any luck, Obama will end running against a guy who thinks oppressive government and not the economy is the big election issue.

Seriously now...

The staffer's comment is just the honest truth, that's all. Everybody knows it, and it happens in both parties; you run to the margin to win the nomination, then the general is a race to the center. I find the comment refreshingly honest.

Everybody knows the hard Republican right is motivated by one thing and one thing only: beating President Obama. They'll all vote for Romney, and they know it, and his campaign knows it, so why not say it? It's just that kind of candor that impresses the independents who decide national elections nowadays.

Just imagine Romney as a world leader.

Everytime Romney would make a comment or someone on his staff makes a comment Romney would have to come out of the oval office and do damage control. As the leader of the free world you can't do that. Gaffes have consequence on the world stage, just ask George W. Bush. Wake up voters! You may think it is funny or you are going to vote for him just because he is in your party. You need better rationale than that. Wake up voters!

Flip flops (not of the foot kind)

:: when the GOP starts running the ads of the Obama flip flops

That's right. Because only liberals flip-flop? I can vividly remember the 2008 campaign when McCain and the other conservative candidates hammered home the point that, unlike their liberal foes, the GOP were steadfast in their beliefs. Steadfast. Never deviating. True to their word.

... Except, y'know, after the 2000 campaign -- the one where GW had campaigned on a platform of not involving the US in unilateral overseas military actions; that the US should not be the world's "policeman"; that the Republicans would shrink the size of both the government AND the deficit.

Now THOSE were some nice flip-flops. Fashionable flip-flops, to say the least.

Is the GOP only learning *now* that a politician's modus operandi is to always flip-flop? It's also called "playing politics."

Ole George

was only defending us against all those Iraqis who were going to swim across the ocean and attack us (see WMDisinformation).