Mitt Romney Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom may have legitimized every pundit who has called the GOP presidential candidate a flip-flopper on Wednesday, when he asserted that Romney's ultra-conservative stance on issues this primary cycle would not hurt him in the general election because the candidate will be able to reinvent himself, like the mechnical draw/re-draw slate Etch A Sketch.
The exchange occurred during Fehrnstrom's Wednesday morning appearance on CNN. Romney's communications director was asked whether he's concerned if the nastiness of the Republican primary race would alienate voters in a national election against President Barck Obama if he ultimately snags the party's nomination.
Fehrnstrom brushed off the concern, arguing the general election will give Romney a chance to reinvent himself, presumably without realizing the statement adds more fuel to the idea that the Republican frontrunner is willing to change his beliefs whenever it is politically advantageous.
'Almost Like An Etch A Sketch'
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 restart all of over again, Fehrnstrom said, referring to the toy that functions as a reusable drawing slate.
Fehrnstorm pointed to Romney's primary win in Illinois on Tuesday as evidence that Romney is already broadly accepted by most Republican voters. However, exit polling from the state indicates Romney was acceptable to the same voters who have cast a ballot for him throughout the primary cycle: that is, families earning at least $100,000 a year and voters who cite the economy and federal deficit as their top issues. Evangelical Christian voters and those looking for a true conservative candidate were more likely to vote for Santorum.
Romney -- derided as a Massachusetts moderate by fellow GOP contender Newt Gingrich -- has constantly battled the idea that he is not quite conservative enough, even though he has generally been considered the presumed Republican nominee since the nominations process began last year. As a result, the former governor, who was elected in Massachusetts with strong support among independent voters, has essentially abandoned his moderate platform in exchange for one that will win him the votes he needs to become the GOP's nominee -- a platform that Fehrnstorm implied Romney is willing to modify yet again to win back that support among independent voters in November.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...