Romney Cleans Up Etch A Sketch Mess, Clarifies The Obvious

In a brief interview tonight Mitt Romney clarified what his campaign aid, Eric Fehrnstrom, said regarding the “Etch A Sketch” comment.

“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.”

Not at all does Eric’s answer indicate Mitt will “erase” his Conservative positions.  He’s suggesting that you’ll be able to shake off all the talk about far right issues to court those who haven’t been won over yet, which means you have to speak to their issues.  It does give a candidate the opportunity to appeal to a broader voting block because he won’t have to be courting those (far right) that he has won over.

This is expected of any nominee.  You don’t keep courting those you’ve won over already!  You tailor your message for purposes of marketing.  How retarded would it be for Verizon, for example, to only market to iPhone users when they’ve got customers that are totally sold on the droid and other alternative phones???

Mitt’s got a whole lot more to offer than what far right “red meat” Conservatives want….he’s got much broader appeal.  That means his marketing techniques will need to be focused on those not yet sold on other benefits of his service.  I don’t understand why you can’t see that.

Perhaps this issue is too confusing for most people to understand and I predict it will fizzle out within days if not hours.

Jennifer Ruben has a great article out tonight in which she defends Ferhnstrom’s comments:

The question immediately before Fehrnstrom’s answer is asking whether the attacks in the primary will resonate in the general election. Fehrnstrom denies it, saying the primary fights will not splash over into the general election. In fact, the arguments in the primary campaign by Romney critics, especially Santorum, have been that Romney is too moderate. Fehrnstrom is saying the obvious: In the general election, the race is not going to be “Is Romney too moderate?” but “Is he a wide eyed, radical Republican who’s gong to throw grandma over the cliff?” Everything will change. He doesn’t say — and it’s ludicrous to allege that someone as experienced as Fehrnstrom would say so — “Get ready for the flip flops!” He plainly meant it’s going to be a whole new ballgame fending off the Obama team.

In the second part, Fehrnstrom underlines the point that Romney doesn’t have to change his positions at all — because he is already acceptable to the broad swath of Republicans. (So no, there is not a danger he would have to go “so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election.”)

In fact the question and answer with Ron Brownstein that directly follows Fehrnstrom makes the same point: the landscape changes:

SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: I want to ask a quick question of Ron Brownstein. Do you think that’s true? Do you think it’s an etch a sketch analogy. Once the primary is done, you get to 1,144; the deal is done, everybody forgets and you kind of reset?

BROWNSTEIN: You get a second look. There’s no question about it. It is not a complete blank slate. There are positions that Romney has taken on a variety of issues particularly those related to Hispanics and to some extent the debate over contraception and its effect on college educated women that he’s going to have to deal with going forward. But there is no doubt. Bill Clinton came out of the 1992 primary bruised and battered. He got a second look and ultimately won. You do get a second chance but it is not as though the slate is completely blank.

Tags: Etcha Sketch, Fehrnstrom,

Author:Spencer Iacono


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10 Responses to “Romney Cleans Up Etch A Sketch Mess, Clarifies The Obvious”

  1. Cody Baker
    March 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    This is what I have been saying… as usual they took it out of context and did whatever they could to make it look horrible for Mitt and his campaign. GO MITT!!

  2. March 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Cody, I’m dismayed that so many Mitt supporters are calling for Eric to be tarred and feathered over this! They are not looking at the questions asked, which makes the answer a whole lot more understandable. Even the questioners didn’t see it negatively. GO MITT!

  3. Robin Eacret
    March 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    There is a reason the first part of that interview is nowhere to be found. The first part is cut off and starts with the “etch a sketch” comment. It is ridiculous to think a person has to watch every single word that comes out of his mouth without fear a snippet will be able to be taken and ran with. I’m so beyond sick of the media and left wing spins, and Santorum and Gingrich ran with it too in a show of pathetic desperation.

  4. March 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Robin, I totally agree and the fact that Romney supporters are calling on him to fire Eric makes me sick! They’re letting letting the left and Mitt’s opponents control the narrative of this non-issue.

  5. mary polleys
    March 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Sorry to disagree. It’s the nature of campaigns that you do, in fact, have to watch all the words in order to prevent such a snippet. It plays straight into their hands, and I expect we’ll see commercials that use it on and on. It’s an elementary mistake for a professional to make, and I think the man who said it should voluntarily step down from communications.

  6. March 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Mary, Eric Ferhnstrom is not a media guy, he’s Mitt’s personal aid and whoever let him go on the show should be held accountable if anything. Andrea Saul is the Media Spokesperson for the campaign. I think Eric has done a great job for Mitt, as well as Scott Brown, but I never thought he was great on TV and felt the campaign should choose someone else to be in front of a camera.

    You want people who appear energetic, like Andrea Saul, not Eric who has great ideas and strategy, but lacks media abilities. This is TOO petty of an issue to risk the resurfacing of the “I’m the guy who likes to fire people” label they tried to tag Mitt with 2 months ago. If he fired Eric (if Eric steps down it will still be spun that he was forced out) people would say “see, he does LOVE firing people”. This will fizzle out soon and it’s really not an issue although Mitt’s opponents tried to run the narrative on it.

    Watch the interview. The questioner and his colleagues didn’t even see it the way it is being spun to be.

  7. Excalibear
    March 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Well, the question was if he was afraid that this primary campaign was pushing Mitt so far to the right that he wouldn’t appeal to independents in the General Election.

    The proper answer would have been “NO”. Mitt has NOT been “pandering” to the far right. Mitt has stayed on message. It was THE MEDIA who suggested he needed to veer right to appeal to the base of the Republican party. Obviously they are wrong, given Mitt’s results so far.

    So there was no need to mention any type of “clean slate” metaphors. It was a bad move. Anyone who is part of a campaign should be careful not to stray from the basic message, or things like this are going to happen. Even if it’s no big deal, the media will latch onto it and make a big “meme” out of it, just to keep the drama alive. Think, People! Think!

  8. March 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    You are right .

  9. Nina
    March 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    There’s nothing wrong with what Eric said. I actually heard the interview live and even though it was the wee hours of the morning and I was barely conscious, I understood it. Apparently, by the time I finished my workout and came back, the press (who obviously have nothing else to do) twisted his statement. That’s Ok, though. They can keep it up because people get it.

    If you knock someone once in a while, some people might takes your knocks seriously. If you do it ALL the time, you come off as envious and unbelievable.

  10. March 22, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I’m a loyal Mitt suporter who has contributed money that I can not afford and I’m sick and tired of these verbal gaffes.

    No body seems to learn ….over and over again whether it’s Mitt himself or his staff. This guy Eric should be kept in a back room w/no contact w/the media. Mitt had a great victory and then “bam” …..this character Eric gives this stupid interview. Mitt should wait two weeks and fire his butt. This is the big time …no room for amateurs …no room!

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