TAMPA, Fla. — Finally, Mitt Romney shook the Etch A Sketch.
Having given conservatives everything they had asked for — from switching his positions on abortion and immigration to picking their favorite as his running mate — Romney turned Thursday night to his essential task: converting some President Obama’s 2008 supporters into Republican voters…
Romney’s turn had been promised last March by his veteran aide Eric Fehrnstrom, who provided his boss’ foes with a useful metaphor for describing the ease with which the candidate has altered his positions on a long list of issues.
After the primary campaign, Fehrnstrom argued, “everything changes,” and he added: “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”
Romney knew that what he most had to shake was a personal image tainted by an impression of inconstancy on issues; attacks on his record in business both by his primary foes and the Obama campaign; and off-the-cuff comments that suggested a great distance between his own experience and the lives of most of the voters whose support he needs.