I can’t help but wonder if GOP front-runner Mitt “The Legacy” Romney is thinking of adopting the nickname “Pinwheel” due to all the spinning he’s having to do.
Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom was asked on CNN whether Romney may be forced so far to the right by rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in the primary race that it might hurt him if he’s the party’s nominee in the fall.
Fehrnstrom responded: “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.”
That was Tuesday. By Wednesday, Romney was spinning like Lindsey Lohan’s head after a night on the town.
Mitt Romney promised Wednesday that he would not change his positions if he wins the Republican presidential nomination, hours after a top adviser compared the general election to an Etch A Sketch toy and claimed that Romney can “shake it up” and “start all over again” in the fall.
That remark – uttered by longtime Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom on CNN Wednesday morning – was pounced on by the Obama campaign and Romney’s GOP rivals, who called it another sign of Romney’s willingness to change his positions for political gain.
The Etch A Sketch quip became such a distraction on the web and on cable that the candidate himself addressed it to reporters after a town hall meeting near Baltimore.
Romney explained that “organizationally,” a general election effort looks very different from a primary campaign. There are larger staffs and more fundraising support.
But he said his positions would remain the same if he wins the nomination.
“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.”
Romney’s explanation is unlikely to satisfy his Republican opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who both used Etch A Sketch toys as props during the day to accuse Romney of once again shifting his positions.
Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart lingered amid the satellite trucks parked outside the Romney event in Maryland, handing out mini Etch A Sketches to reporters.
Stewart said Fehrnstrom’s remark “confirms what a lot of conservatives have been afraid of.”
“He used to be pro-abortion, he used to be pro-gay marriage, he used to be pro-Wall Street bailouts, climate change,” Stewart said of Romney. “You know now he’s talking a different language, but the campaign acknowledges that if need be, if he won the primary, he would go right back to the middle in order to win the general.”
A Conservative? How can we tell?
Back on October 25th, 2011, ABC News published “Romney’s Top 5 Contradicting Comments”:
The Flat Tax
…While Steve Forbes was running for president in 1996 on a flat tax platform, Romney took out ads as a “concerned citizen” that said the flat tax was “a tax cut for fat cats.” In 2007 Romney reiterated his opposition to a flat tax, telling the Des Moines Register that “one person’s flat tax is another person’s unfair tax.”
But as the idea of a simplified tax code gains popularity this election cycle, Romney has toned down his criticism for a flat tax, which institutes one tax bracket for all income levels. The GOP front-runner has stopped short of fully endorsing the plan, emphasizing its tendency to raise taxes on the middle class and lower them on the wealthy.
“The flat tax has positive features,” Romney said earlier this month at an Iowa town hall. “But then again you have to look and make sure it doesn’t raise taxes on middle income Americans.”
At a New Hampshire campaign stop in August, Romney said ‘the idea of one bracket alone would be even better in some respects,” than his multi-bracket proposal, but noted “I want to make sure of this: that we are not going to cut taxes for, if you will, the wealthiest 1 percent.”
Massachusetts Health Care
…While Romney consistently claims that he does not support the state law being implemented nationally, in the hardcover version of his book “No Apology,” Romney writes “we can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.”
In the paperback version of his book Romney amends that line to say, “It was done without government taking over health care,” a change Romney’s spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said was made after “Obamacare” was signed.
“They were simple updates to reflect that we had more information at the time the paperback came out,” said Fehrnstrom.
At the Las Vegas debate last week, Romney said, “It would be wrong to adopt [the Massachusetts law] as a nation. “In the last campaign, I was asked, is this something that you would have the whole nation do? And I said, no, this is something that was crafted for Massachusetts,” Romney said.
…While running for governor in 2002 Romney said he supported abortion rights.
“I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose,” Romney said during a debate against his Democratic opponent Shannon O’Brien. “I am not going to change our pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in any way. I am not going to make any changes which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself.”
During his term as governor Romney, vetoed a bill in 2005 that would expand access to emergency contraception. In an op-ed explaining his veto he wrote that he was “pro-life.”
“While I do not favor abortion, I will not change the state’s abortion laws,” Romney wrote.
Six years later, amid is second presidential bid, Romney clarified is current anti-abortion stance, writing in a National Journal op-ed that he supports overturning Roe v. Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood.
“If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America,” Romney wrote.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
…During his 1994 Senate campaign, Romney sent a letter to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, a gay rights political group, asking for its endorsement and praising “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a “step in the right direction.”
“I am also convinced that it is the first of a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military,” Romney wrote. “That goal will only be reached when preventing discrimination against gays and lesbians is a mainstream concern, which is a goal we share.”
Then in 2007, while running for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney said he “would not change” the policy.
“It’s been the policy now in the military for what 10-15 years and it seems to be working,” Romney said at a GOP debate. “This is not the time to put in place a major change, a social experiment in the middle of a war going on. I wouldn’t change it at this point. We can look at it down the road.”
Constitutional Amendment Defining Life
…At a campaign stop in Iowa last week, the White House hopeful said he agreed with the premise of a possible amendment, that “life beings and conception, birth control prevents conception,” but said he was “not campaigning for an amendment of some kind.”
But two weeks earlier Romney told Fox News host Mike Huckabee that he would “absolutely” support such an amendment.
Evidently, when Romney wants to appear Conservative, he just shakes his Etch-A-Sketch, and changes positions.