Yuval, on the optics, nothing need be added to your post except maybe a hand over the eyes and a loud sigh.
But on the merits. . . . This was a gaffe yes, but it was a Kinsley gaffe. It was a colorful restatement of perhaps the oldest chestnut in all of presidential campaign conventional wisdom: Run to the base in the primary, tack center in general.
Moreover, what Fehrnstrom actually said –
“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 it all over again.”
– implies that the switch from primary to general campaign modes is like an Etch-a-Sketch. Not that the candidate is. Of course, that doesn’t matter. Romney has a (partially deserved) reputation as a flip-flopper, and this was too rich to leave be.