Mitt Romney addressed his strategist Eric Fehrnstrom's comments Thursday that his positions in the primary were as erasable as an Etch a Sketch.
"And you know, everybody’s going to make a gaffe now and again. I’ve certainly made my share of them, and I’m sure others will. The other candidates have as well," he said on the radio show of Hugh Hewitt, a conservative talk radio host who wrote a favorable book about Romney. "And everyone understands, of course, that Eric was talking about the organization of a campaign, the next chapter of a campaign as you go from primary to general, and you have new people that come on board. You have to raise new money. But of course, the policies stay exactly the same."
Fehrnstrom's remark Wednesday, the morning after a big win in the Illinois primary, dominated the news Wednesday and Thursday, seemingly reinforcing the perception that the former Massachusetts governor changes positions for political expediency. Fehrnstrom said, "Well, 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." Romney's GOP rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich seized on the comment, bringing Etch A Sketches to their campaign appearances Wednesday.
Romney was asked about his campaign's pattern of making gaffes on the heels of victories. "Well, this timing was not ideal, of course," said Romney, "but you never can estimate that every word that comes out of your mouth is going to absolutely [be] the way you wanted to describe it." The former Massachusetts governor then referenced Santorum's recent poorly phrased comments about the economy and unemployment.
On Santorum's comments that Republicans should give President Barack Obama another term if he's not the nominee, Romney said that the former Pennsylvania senator was "confusing" the nature of the race. "The country is going in a very seriously wrong direction under President Obama. And I’m afraid that Rick increasingly thinks this race is about him. It’s not about him. It’s not about me. It’s not about a personality. It’s about the country," said Romney.