Wednesday 18 January 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Romney can draw line under Etch-A-Sketch blooper

The White House race could be a battle of the flip-floppers with Iran as a game-changer

Published 25/03/2012 | 05:00

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the Detroit Economic Club during a campaign stop at Ford Field in Detroit
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the Detroit Economic Club during a campaign stop at Ford Field in Detroit
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum address his Iowa Caucus night rally in Johnston Iowa

THE fun's gone out of the race for the Republican nomination. Barring something unforeseeable, Mitt Romney's too far ahead to catch. Newt Gingrich's vote collapsed in Illinois last week, and he finished fourth behind the libertarian Ron Paul.

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The Mormon Romney didn't just beat his nearest rival, Roman Catholic Rick Santorum, on Tuesday; among Catholic voters, he won decisively. Romney's core supporters -- suburban, prosperous and moderate -- are staying loyal. But while Santorum still leads with evangelicals, the very conservative and the less educated, he is not making inroads elsewhere.

There was a bit of light relief when, post-Illinois, Romney's communications director, of all people, produced a mega gaffe. Asked on CNN if he was worried that to win the nomination Romney might be pushed so far to the right that he would alienate moderates, Eric Fehrnstrom presumably forgot he was on TV and mused: "Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again." This enabled Santorum and Gingrich to wave Etch A Sketches to emphasise what true conservatives they were and what a flip-flopper is Romney.

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