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.
- 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?