Mitt Romney has acquired something of a reputation for trying to be “all things to all people”, that he will say absolutely whatever it takes to get elected. The “Etch-a-Sketch” comment only reinforced this notion. As Andrew Sullivan put it:
It sums up every single worry about Romney in one metaphor: that he is a machine, that he can say or stand for anything, and that, from time to time, depending on which segment of the population he is appealing to, he will simply become something completely different.
It does remind me of another quote by a politician:
I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.
The politician in question was one Barack Obama, in his book The Audacity of Hope.
Republicans are probably thinking that this just goes to prove the existence of the “liberal media”. They would be wrong. What it goes to prove is the power of charisma. Obama’s statement is entirely accurate and, what is more, it is true without any effort on Obama’s part. Whereas Romney has to twist in the political winds, Obama gets stuff projected onto him effortlessly. This is one of the differences between a charismatic politician and an un-charismatic one.