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.
“The issues I am running on will be exactly the same,” he told a pack of reporters eager for a comment on the day’s conversation-driver. “I am running a as conservative Republican. I was a conservative Republican governor. I will be running as a conservative Republican nominee, at that point hopefully, for president. The policies and positions are the same.”
He then turned and walked back to the curtained area from which he emerged, confusing reporters who were expecting a longer question-and-answer session.
“Actually this isn’t an avail,” Romney responded when more questions were shouted. “It was a chance to respond to a question I didn’t get a chance to respond to.”
Romney’s campaign then shook itself up and down and side to side until this ad emerged. It’s called “Conservative Record.”
It’s a great ad, but Eric Fehrnstrom’s Etch A Sketch Comment had already done a couple of laps around the political world by the time it came out. Democrat operative Matt Ortega has even put up a web site to mock it. Both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich toted Etch A Sketches to campaign events and are likely to keep on doing that to play up the gaffe for all it’s worth.
One of Romney’s earlier lines still may come into play.