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Continued: Why politicians get away with lies

  • Article by: MELINDA HENNEBERGER , Washington Post
  • Last update: March 23, 2012 - 7:45 PM

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom's now world-famous Etch a Sketch remark does not fall into the category of a truth the public doesn't like but will soon forget about, though. He said the general election is so different from a primary that it's "almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again."

It's an unforgettable metaphor for a candidate with a history of some pretty severe flexibility on the issues.

Of course campaigns do start all over again in the general. (As Jordan Baker reminds her betwixt-and-between friend Daisy Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby," "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.")

But since one of the biggest Republican knocks on Obama is that we still don't know who he is, a challenger who can see him and raise him on the vagueness front is an unlikely antidote.

With seven months to go until Election Day, there will be lots of opportunities for Romney to recover. But the feeling of inevitability that follows his win in Illinois this week is not at all the one he had intended.

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Melinda Henneberger is a Washington Post political writer.

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