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March 21st, 2012
09:24 PM ET

Letters to the President #1157: 'The Etch-a-Sketch moment'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president every day. I suppose I could use an etch-a-sketch, but I use a computer, although I’m not sure that makes my thoughts last any longer.

Dear Mr. President,

I think this is why people don’t trust politicians and don’t trust the media: We make a big deal out of something as silly as a campaign aide mentioning an etch-a-sketch. When Romney’s guy made that comment (what was it? Something like, in the fall we shake everything up like an etch-a-sketch and start over?) I could just hear the D.C. wolves baring their teeth. I knew that before the sun was down they would be howling about how this shows how tricky, and flip floppy Romney is, and yadda yadda yadda.

But frankly, I don’t get it.

I’m not trying to defend Team Romney or the Republicans or anyone else. I’m just saying that it seems patently goofy to pillory any candidate over what seems to have been a harmless comment about how campaigns must effectively remake themselves many times in the course of a race. Any experienced political operator in the land knows that is the nature of the process. And I think any fair person could listen to what that aide said and safely assume that is what he was talking about…that he was not suggesting or admitting that his candidate changes position every time the leaves shake in the trees.

Seriously, what kind of campaign operative would ever suggest such a thing?

I liked it when you referred to “silly season” back in the 2008 campaign. (I think that’s when it was.) You were right, sometimes the whole process gets absurd; ridiculous; so twisted amid all the attempts to win, that it appears devoid of any actual sense. For my money, that is what happened here.

Hope all is well.

Regards,
Tom

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