Chris Cillizza
Reporter March 22, 2012

Eric Fehrnstrom couldn’t have drawn it up any worse.

On Wednesday, Fehrnstrom, a top aide to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, compared his candidate’s issue positions heading into the general election to an Etch a Sketch. Yes, you read that right.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House. View Archive

“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign,” Fehrnstrom said on CNN, when asked whether the Republican presidential primary battle had forced his candidate too far to the right. “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch a Sketch – you can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

To quote that famous Texas philosopher Rick Perry: Oops.

Even as Romney’s campaign was trying to stomp out the brushfire — you know what he meant, they insisted — his Republican rivals were pouring lighter fluid all over it.

Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) stopped into a Louisiana Toys R Us to pick up a bunch of Etch a Sketches as campaign props. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) — remember him? — hammered Romney: “If you’re serious about changing Washington, D.C., you can’t use an Etch a Sketch,” he said while carrying (you guessed it!) an Etch a Sketch.

For Romney, who is hoping to assure voters that he has a core set of beliefs, the image of the candidate as an easily eraseable drawing toy was not particularly helpful. At all.

Eric Fehrnstrom, for inking your name — in permanent marker — into the big book of presidential campaign gaffes, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@wpost.com.

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