* Another remarkable statement from Mitt Romney:
“I keep hearing the president say he’s responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression,” Romney said at a town hall in Arbutus, Maryland. “No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and [then-Treasury Secretary] Hank Paulson.”
As I’ve been saying, Romney’s whole case about Obama’s economic record turns entirely on minimizing the magnitude of the mess he inherited. Also: Romney is aligning himself with Bush and TARP?
* Jon Chait comments on the above:
The Wall Street bailout is actually a huge political liability for Obama because it’s incredibly unpopular and most Americans think Obama, not Bush, signed it. So having Romney run around reminding people that Bush bailed out Wall Street is actually Obama’s prayer answered.
* Jed Lewison has a smart post on Romney’s invocation of Bush and TARP, and the gamble it represents that we’ll all forget how bad the meltdown was.
A taste: “good luck with that. No matter what his campaign believes, our memories aren’t like Etch-A-Sketches.”
* Lede of the day, from the Associated Press:
Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is trying to shake accusations that he’s an inconsistent conservative after a top adviser compared him to an Etch A Sketch toy.
* Reacting to “Etch-A-Sketch,” Philip Klein puts conservatives on notice: If he’s already prepared to abandon you for the general, imagine how quickly he’ll ditch you once in the White House.
* Rick Santorum brands Romney the “Etch-A-Sketch candidate,” which is nice, but don’t forget that Romney’s rivals utterly failed to exploit months of real live, real time Romney Etch-A-Sketching.
* Atrios: “Romney won’t reboot himself for the general election. He is what he is, now.” That seems particularly true when it comes to Romney’s vision of the proper distribution of wealth and power.
* Steve Benen:
The knock on Romney since Day One has been that he’s a shallow, unprincipled politician, willing to say anything to anyone to win. “Etch A Sketch” is so perfect a metaphor, it’s extraordinary that it came from the candidate’s own communications director.
* Despite Romney’s difficulties today, the long-anticipated GOP stampede towards Romney may be underway.
* Good read: White House officials open up to Major Garrett about their “long game” strategy to fend off GOP attacks on gas prices and shift the conversation to our clean energy future.
* Progressive Change Campaign Committee officials deliver a thoughtful post-mortem on Ilya Sherman’s loss in a race that had become a referendum on the ability to elect unabashed progressives to Congress.
* And a refreshingly candid quote (sub. only) from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan about what’s driving the House GOP’s Solyndra probe:
“Bringing attention to these things helps the voters and citizens of the country make the kind of decision that I hope helps them as they evaluate who they are going to vote for in November.”