A top adviser says the GOP front-runner won't have to stick to conservative positions he adopted during the nomination race.
Updated 4:35 p.m.
Mitt Romney is often chided for his verbal miscues, but Wednesday morning, it was Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom who put his foot squarely in his own mouth. On CNN, comedian John Fugelsang (of all people) asked whether Fehnstrom was concerned that the primary campaign had forced Romney to move to the right in ways that might hurt him in the general election. Here's Fehnstrom's unintentionally revealing answer:
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.
As is so often the case with gaffes, the problem is that Fehrnstrom confirms everything that Romney's skeptics believe: that he's a political opportunist, a squishy moderate, and willing to say anything to get elected. This isn't even a flip-flop -- Fehnstrom says plainly that Romney doesn't have to stick to his primary positions. The statement also fits with the complaints of many Tea Party voters about the GOP establishment. They complain that Republican candidates have run on platforms of fiscal responsibility and true conservatism, only to abandon those principles once in office.
It's an open secret that every nominee from the two major parties moves to the center every election year. Fehrnstrom's mistake is speaking that open secret aloud. Republicans may not be surprised, but what voter likes to hear her candidate's adviser state so clearly that she's being duped?
Fehrnstrom, who was last spotted speaking elegantly about the lack of a "deus ex machina" Tuesday night, occasionally gets too clever by half. In August 2011, he accidentally revealed himself as the man behind a fake Twitter account mocking Alan Khazei, a rival of Sen. Scott Brown, another of Fehrnstrom's clients.