The Etch A Sketch gaffe by Mitt Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom is likely to become a “campaign defining disaster” much like John Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it” line in 2004, Joe Klein writes in his In the Arena column
for Time magazine.
“Most obviously, this was a classic Kinsleyan gaffe — an inadvertent blurting of the truth — that goes to the very heart of the character problems that have bedeviled Mitt Romney throughout this campaign. It provides a handy prop for Romney’s opponents and an obvious template for future TV ads.”
Klein was referring to columnist Michael Kinsley’s definition that a "gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say." Klein also wrote that the comment will make it harder, if not impossible, for Romney to move toward the center during the general election.
“There is a gestalt to every campaign, a deep organic spirit . . . In Romney’s case, this spirit expresses itself in embarrassing gaffes, often at the moment of victory — and it reflects the sterile management-consultancy ethos at the heart of the candidate . . . A management consultant or private equity turnaround specialist can wipe the slate — or Etch A Sketch — clean and start anew with each new project. A political candidate can’t. There has to be some passion for a presidential candidacy to work. Romney has none, just a deep abiding faith in his ability as a turnaround guy. A turnaround guy. A turnaround guy.”
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