It’s hard to understand why a politician would run an ad that seeks to minimize the story that is doing the most political damage to one’s chief rival. In my view, to hit Gingrich and Santorum while leaving Romney untouched hints at another motive. Ron Paul’s camp is running an ad slamming the two non-Romneys for their focus on Romney Communications Direct Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-Sketch” remark. He apparently thinks it’s ridiculous to be focused on what he considers a sideshow, but I wonder if that’s his real objective. After all, he’s been rather friendly with Mitt Romney, and at times it has seemed he was working on coordinating his attacks on the others with the former Massachusetts governor, who one would think would receive the most scrutiny from the Paul camp, since Romney is clearly the most liberal of the four.
Here’s the ad:
Not once in this ad are viewers informed about the nature of the controversy, although you do get a clip of Fehrnstrom’s remark, but what viewers receive is a series of repeated iterations of Gingrich, Santorum, and media saying “Etch-a-Sketch,” portrayed in such a way as to mock the subject. Romney’s been playing damage control ever since his Communications Director’s remarks, and they’ve tried several approaches to change the subject. I suppose if all else fails, you let Ron Paul’s campaign do your dirty-work, and try to downplay the meaning and impact of the “Etch-a-Sketch” remark. Of course, this could be Paul’s way of trying to get a little attention, but whatever his motive, I think it’s dishonest to downplay the significance. After all, if the Romney campaign will bear a resemblance to an etch-a-sketch if he secures the nomination, one would think this is information all of the other candidates would want voters to possess. To me, this looks like an attempt to minimize the damage to Romney. Is this part of a collusion between Paul and Romney? Nobody’s certain but it’s odd that Paul’s campaign would posit a thesis that reduces the damage to an opponent.