Results from the "Etch A Sketch" Comment

It was a good week for Ohio Art, toymaker of the red tablet that writes and erases with ease. According to an adviser to Mitt Romney, he has a lot in common with an Etch A Sketch.

When Eric Fehrnstrom was asked how Romney will appeal to both moderates and conservatives, he made a fatal mistake: he told what sounds like the truth. CNN reports that Fehrnstrom said the campaign will press the "reset button":

"Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."

 Republican competitor Ron Paul grabbed onto the misstep and produced a new video, which asks "Tired of the games?" 

Candidate Rick Santorum also latched onto the phrase:  "If we are going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk in what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate." A member of his staff distributed small versions of the toy to reporters during a trip to Maryland. 

And candidate Newt Gingrich got into the act. Holding an Etch a Sketch, as Santorum also did, he said

"So here's Gov. Romney's staff, they don't even have the decency to wait until they get the nomination to explain to us how they'll sell us out, and I think having an Etch A Sketch as your campaign model, raises every doubt about where we're going."

Read a Time article for an analysis of how this comment may be a "disaster" for the Romney campaign. 

As for Etch A Sketch, the share price has more than doubled, reaching $12.50 at one point, which was the biggest one-day increase the stock has seen in more than 30 years. 

Update: Read about and watch an interview of Bill Southard, PR representative of Etch A Sketch.

Discussion Starters: 

  • How could a comment like this have slipped from a candidate's representative? How could it have been avoided? 
  • How do you assess the consequences? Will Romney be able to recover? 
  • Evaluate Ron Paul's ad? What works well about his approach, and what you recommend changing?