Etch-a-sketch art by DonkeyHotey based on a photo by Matthew Reichbach. Credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr/Creative Commons
Mitt Romney’s political rivals predictably jumped at the chance to criticize him after his senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom compared the Romney campaign to an “Etch A Sketch” children’s toy on CNN this week. While speaking on the network’s “Starting Point” about what the Romney campaign will do in the general presidential race, Fehrnstrom said, “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 we start all over again.”
Unsurprisingly, Romney’s opponents swiftly condemned the comment as revelatory evidence of Romney’s unreliable flip-flop nature, but major news organizations such as The New York Times also labeled the comment a gaffe and a misstep. Is Fehrnstrom’s remark truly controversial or was he simply describing how a campaign adjusts to a broader political contest?
Does the comment merit the firestorm of criticism that ensued or are critics making a mountain out of a mole hill? How much weight should the media and the public give to statements like this?
Arnold Steinberg, political strategist and analyst, a libertarian-conservative long associated with Republican campaigns
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