Ron Paul spokesman: Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are acting like “carnival barkers”

posted at 2:30 pm on March 23, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Ron Paul’s campaign ads have been consistently excellent and his latest — entitled “Etch a Sketch” — is no exception. The ad features skillful editing, limited-but-powerful use of text, tasteful visual effects and a memorable message. The ad reminds us: The problems the nation faces are greater than political games.

In a statement, Paul spokesman Jesse Benton accurately summarized the entire “Etch a Sketch” episode: “Conservatives and Constitutionalists have long been concerned about Mitt Romney’s track record of position changes and flip-flops, and his top adviser’s slip of the tongue only reinforces this suspicion. It is equally off-putting to see Santorum and Gingrich react like carnival barkers, not the statesmen America sorely needs.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Paul, clever ads and circumspect statements do not a successful candidate make. Paul has been plagued by his own positions since the beginning of the primary process — and he’ll be plagued by them until the end. It’s not that they’re invalid; it’s that they’re simply not shared by a large enough percentage of the GOP or the nation at large. Ron Paul hasn’t won a single primary or caucus and has spent a whopping $686,000 a delegate, whereas Rick Santorum has spent just $52,000 a delegate, Mitt Romney has spent $187,000 and Newt Gingrich has spent $248,000.

This advertisement — with its lack of attack on Romney — might also contribute to the general perception that Paul will not criticize Romney with as much vigor as he might were it not for his purported concern for the political prospects of his son Rand. Then again, perhaps the Pauls and the Romneys just get along. Ann Romney has openly admitted that Carol Paul is her favorite fellow First Lady wannabe, for example.

But what of the substance of the advertisement, the argument that it is somehow irresponsible for Santorum and Gingrich to mock Eric Fehrnstrom’s thoughtless “Etch a Sketch” remark? At this point in the primary, can Santorum and Gingrich be excused for wanting to do whatever they can to thwart Romney from the nomination?

Negative campaigning works. However much we all profess to hate it, we still respond to it — and usually as the negative campaigner hopes we will respond. We thus induce politicians to continue to use cheap tricks and attack ads. The heat that Santorum and Gingrich have brought to their lampooning of the “Etch a Sketch” comment show that they still deeply — even desperately — desire the nomination or, at least, still deeply desire to deny it to Romney. That is something to consider — and not necessarily something for which to despise them. Romney has been virulent in his attacks on them, too, remember.

All of these attacks are OK as long as those making them and those of us observing them remember all the GOP candidates are on our side in an important respect. They want Obama out of office as badly as we do. They want him out of office even more than do those heroes of the party who declined to run. They want him out of office badly enough to give their time and money to this primary process and to face the prospect of an infinitely harsher general election.

The attacks aren’t OK if they let Obama off the hook in any way. Does calling Romney “the Etch-a-Sketch candidate” encourage him to be evermore consistent in his positions on Obamacare and the bailouts? Then, by all means, call him “the Etch-a-Sketch candidate.” But does it obscure the reality that Obama is the biggest flip-flopper of all? Then, knock it off and remind voters that Obama is the one who is not to be trusted.

Politics are messy, but they need not be purposeless. The overarching purpose of this primary and the November election is to select a president who will uphold the U.S. Constitution and faithfully execute the laws. That’s not Obama. His signature legislative achievement is unconstitutional, his Department of Justice allowed an illegal gunrunning operation to occur on its watch and he routinely legislates through the executive branch. But — it very well could be “Etch a Sketch” Mitt Romney, “carnival barker” Rick Santorum, “granddaddy of earmarks” Newt Gingrich or even “outside-the-mainstream” Ron Paul. Mean nicknames don’t make the men any less qualified — and insincere, slick-sounding messaging doesn’t make Obama any more deserving of a second term.


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Had to watch to see Paul is against pushing the etch-a-sketch meme, not for it.

Paul-Cincy on March 23, 2012 at 2:35 PM

The problem with the, “Etch-a-sketch,” attack, is that its ultimately a silly way to repeat the tired old flip-flopper attack that they’ve been throwing at Romney endlessly since the primary began. If calling him an outright flipflopper didn’t work, and calling him a perfectly lubricated weather vane didn’t work, why should calling him an etch-a-sketch work?

Frankly, not only is it weird to attack Romney for a comment a staffer made, a comment that has largely been taken out of context at that, but it seems so incredibly juvenile to use the imagery of a children’s toy in a presidential campaign.

Sorry, whole thing just comes across as desperate, and blown entirely out of proportion. I know some people would disagree with that, but regardless that’s how it appears to me.

WolvenOne on March 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

All 5 are clowns, with Obama the biggest of them all.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Always nice to know that such matters are decided on principle.

Annar on March 23, 2012 at 2:42 PM

If calling him an outright flipflopper didn’t work, and calling him a perfectly lubricated weather vane didn’t work, why should calling him an etch-a-sketch work?

Your problem is they all work. Otherwise he’d be the nominee by now.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

This advertisement — with its lack of attack on Romney

Must have just been my viewing of the ad which contained images of Romney & video of romney staffer, as well. Just no video of Romney carrying around a child’s toy and saying “we’re talking about important things here folks”.

gatorboy on March 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Then again, perhaps the Pauls and the Romneys just get along.

I’ve read somewhere that the families are friends. Hey, Bil Keane and R. Crumb were friends too, despite the, ah, rather vast gulf in cartooning subject matter.

rbj on March 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Frankly, not only is it weird to attack Romney for a comment a staffer made, a comment that has largely been taken out of context at that

WolvenOne on March 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

No, the guy is a main adviser and it was NOT taken out of context, except you Romney adherents want it taken out of context.

It was Freudian, most sincere. YOU can never take it back, no matter what you wish for.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Your problem is they all work. Otherwise he’d be the nominee by now.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

were the 2012 primary rules the same as 2008, your statement would have credibility. but they’re not.

given the # of contenders and the new rules, I’d enjoy seeing your argument about how ANYONE would be able to attain the 1144 delegates at this point in the race.

gatorboy on March 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Our national leaders.

Jeepers !!!!!

jake-the-goose on March 23, 2012 at 2:47 PM

If Ron Paul wants to help Romney he should address the etch a sketch issue, not call it some kind of game. The concerns that the etch a sketch comment raises are to obviously real, not a sideshow. R Paul should directly tackle the etch a sketch issue, defuse it, as it seems Romney himself will not.

anotherJoe on March 23, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Why is Ron Paul even part of this. He’s got a following,a fan club, very nice. But what is the point? He’s not even campaigning. Why would anyone vote for him when it is meaningless?

And Newt ? He can’t even beat him in Illinois ? and maybe 4th again in WI- and he has so much ego, he accuses Romney of being weak?

These 2 are the circus acts. They need to get the hell out of the way.

(Still let them have their little speech at the convention- thats fine- but get off the stage. now.)

FlaMurph on March 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Sorry, whole thing just comes across as desperate, and blown entirely out of proportion. I know some people would disagree with that, but regardless that’s how it appears to me.

WolvenOne on March 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Nope, you’re right…desperate and blowing things out of proportion is all the ABR crowd has left.

changer1701 on March 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Why is grandpa 2% still even IN this race? Come on, Ronny, get out. You are wasting the time of your mind numbed Paulbots.

Warner Todd Huston on March 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Why is Ron Paul even part of this. He’s got a following,a fan club, very nice. But what is the point? He’s not even campaigning. Why would anyone vote for him when it is meaningless?

FlaMurph on March 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

I believe he hopes to accumulate enough delegates to have some leverage on the party platform at the convention. He’s campaigning for bargaining chips.

a capella on March 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Pot, kettle; some paint required.

Steve Eggleston on March 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

paul, have you found all the money gotten and where it went on your election yet? I don’t know why paul is still in this race, you hardly hear anything from or about him?
L

letget on March 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

At the risk of sounding like, well, a conspiracy theorizing Paulbot, this story does nothing to undo my belief that there is some sort of understanding between Romney and Ron Paul.

A quick Ron Paul endorsement of Romney (and the support of Paul’s network of followers) once Romney clinches the nomination? In return, a plum Cabinet position for Rand, perhaps?

MidniteRambler on March 23, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Well Ron, crank up the hot air balloon,float in to save the party.

dragondrop on March 23, 2012 at 2:59 PM

I’ve always thought of Obama as the carnival barker.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

It was Freudian, most sincere. YOU can never take it back, no matter what you wish for.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Sure- Romney’s gonna CHANGE ALL HIS POSITIONS for the general election, SO THE MEDIA CAN HAMMER AWAY AT HIM— SUUURRE- ROMNEY is gonna PUSH for CARD CHECK- TRIPLE THE SIZE of the EPA- RAISE TAXES FOR EVERYONE !!!- thats a perfect campaign strategy, ISn’t it?? – sure …thats EXACTLY what his advisor spilled the beans on ! oh CRAP…NOW what does TEAM ROMNEY do ??? hmmm…..

Guess what the #1 ‘ETCH-a-SKETCH” changeroo switcheroo for Team Romney for the G.E. is gonna be(…as the pinheads who spin this want you to believe…….)

HE’S GONNA BE CONCERNED ABOUT POOR PEOPLE AND GET ANGRY ABOUT OBIECARE !!!!

Idiots.

FlaMurph on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

I’m afraid Ron is defending Mitt in order to secure the VP slot. They have been in long private discussions lately.

Lothar on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Ron Paul hasn’t won a single primary or caucus and has spent a whopping $686,000 a delegate, whereas Rick Santorum has spent just $52,000 a delegate, Mitt Romney has spent $187,000 and Newt Gingrich has spent $248,000.

Tina, you’re using media delegate counts that proportionally attribute delegates based on non-binding straw polls. In other words, the counts are completely wrong. Paul is probably 2nd in delegates at this point if you project while taking into account what happened at the country caucuses and who is going to state conventions. It’s even higher if you assume more than one round of voting at the national convention, which would unbind a lot of delegates.

Paul probably spent the least per delegate, and has more than most realize.

ebrawer on March 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM

The attacks aren’t OK if they let Obama off the hook in any way. Does calling Romney “the Etch-a-Sketch candidate” encourage him to be evermore consistent in his positions on Obamacare and the bailouts? Then, by all means, call him “the Etch-a-Sketch candidate.”

-Rick Santorum supporter Tina Korbe

Tina Korbe is silent on Rick Santorum’s unforgiveable suggestion that an Obama second term is preferable to voting for our likely Republican nominee. Rather pathetic of Tina Korbe.

Yes, Santorum has since tried to “clarify” his comments, but Tina should have addressed this disgusting statement by Santorum, since the current debate isn’t merely about “negative campaigning” or about bringing up obviously silly etch-a-sketch metaphors; it’s about one candidate in particular (Rick Santorum) claiming that Obama’s reelection wouldn’t be much different (and may be better) than our likely nominee winning in November. Tina neglects to mention the most important bit of inter-party attack related news, and one that happens to involve her preferred candidate.

Tina, you have been a disappointment not only in your passive aggressive, wishy washy writing style, but also in your refusal to straightforwardly confront events that call for a strong response.

As a longtime HotAir reader, I expect a lot better from this site.

bluegill on March 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Lothar on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Mitt Romney is not going to pick Herr Doktor as his running mate.

catmman on March 23, 2012 at 3:05 PM

I’ve always thought of Obama as the carnival barker.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

No, he’s the hideous freakshow.

rbj on March 23, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Well by a process of elimination, I still go with Rick Santorum: Ron Paul is too wacky for me, Romney has his minions and super pac doing all his dirty work while he hides behind his wife as she shills for him and they still can’t mask who he really is, Newt Gingrich is a good man, conservative, but too abrasive, and that leaves the last man standing for me – against millions of dollars of smearing and all odds, like the energizer bunny he keeps on going. I admire that fighting and resilient spirit. Very Reaganesque!

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Rick Santorum is the next George Washington. He will lead us to victory in November.

Punchenko on March 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

I’m afraid Ron is defending Mitt in order to secure the VP slot. They have been in long private discussions lately.

Lothar on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

What are you smoking?

JPeterman on March 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

There is Stupid, and there is Inanae.

This post is stupid and inane.

Sometimes I think that the posters here at HA would be a lot more comfortable over at HuffPo.

williamg on March 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Newt Gingrich and Senator SweaterVest have, with this incident, lowered themselves to the level of prop comic.

Carrot Top is pleased, I am sure.

JohnGalt23 on March 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I have not been to proud of the way Rick complains lately. Newt at least doesn’t sound like he’s crying!

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Rick Santorum is the next George Washington. He will lead us to victory in November.

Punchenko on March 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Sir, I knew George Washington. And Rick Santorum is no George Washington.

antisense on March 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Rick Santorum is the next George Washington. He will lead us to victory in November.

Punchenko on March 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

He surely will or we’ll be royally screwed!

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

his advertisement — with its lack of attack on Romney — might also contribute to the general perception that Paul will not criticize Romney with as much vigor as he might were it not for his purported concern for the political prospects of his son Rand.

Leave it to Tina to get it wrong again. The ad is an attack on Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, the media, and Obama. Romney’s advisor is the first to get things going with his inane comment, then Santorum, Gingrich and the media pile on, belaboring trivia as the world burns. Both Romney and Obama are included in the final montage of unserious people who have no concrete solutions to the world’s serious problems.

“Conservatives and Constitutionalists have long been concerned about Mitt Romney’s track record of position changes and flip-flops, and his top adviser’s slip of the tongue only reinforces this suspicion. It is equally off-putting to see Santorum and Gingrich react like carnival barkers, not the statesmen America sorely needs.”

Romney’s name is conspicuously present in Jesse Benton’s statement, and Jesse is not being nice.

I know Ed’s busy and stuff, but can’t he give these post’s a quick glance over before they go out?

Mr. Arkadin on March 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I could easily pull the lever for Ron Paul. Santorum? Not so much. Talk about a contrast in character! Paul is quick-witted, funny, and a generally positive man to be about. With Santorum everything is dower and depressive. The man is just as abrasive as Newt, but without the jolly.

antisense on March 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM

This ad was a little too flashy for a campaign ad. It looks more like a trailer for an action movie.

I’ve read somewhere that the families are friends. Hey, Bil Keane and R. Crumb were friends too, despite the, ah, rather vast gulf in cartooning subject matter.

rbj on March 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Wow. I would never have expected so see their names together in a sentence, leave alone that they were friends.

Then again, I remember seeing some Bil Keane comics, non-Family Circle, that were a bit off-color (for Keane anyway).

UltimateBob on March 23, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Your problem is they all work. Otherwise he’d be the nominee by now.

Schadenfreude on March 23, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Actually, no. Not enough delegates have been awarded yet. Even Obama doesn’t have enough.

It’s time for Ron Paul to demonstrate leadership and put the good of the country first. The best thing for the United States is to defeat Obama in November. The best chance for that is Mitt Romney. He has 30% more votes than the closest candidate, and double the delegates. If Ron Paul would step out now and endorse Mitt, it would be much more productive than this ad.

talkingpoints on March 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM

This primary isn’t “a circus” … it is OVER and some are trying to keep it on life support.

crosspatch on March 23, 2012 at 3:28 PM

JPeterman on March 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

One of the most hated candidates by the GOP base picking another one of the most hated candidates for a running mate. Why, it’s so crazy it could work!

gyrmnix on March 23, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I could easily pull the lever for Ron Paul. Santorum? Not so much. Talk about a contrast in character! Paul is quick-witted, funny, and a generally positive man to be about. With Santorum everything is dower and depressive. The man is just as abrasive as Newt, but without the jolly.

antisense on March 23, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I could pull the lever for any candidate. They all suck, some more than others (especially Santorum), but none as much as Obama by a nautical mile. Folks who start frothing at the mouth at the mere mention of Ron Paul should name one position on which he’s worse than the current squatter at 1600 Penn Ave.

Archivarix on March 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Sir, I knew George Washington. And Rick Santorum is no George Washington.

antisense on March 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Rick Santorum is a leader of men much like Washington. Nothing inspires patriotism, the fighting spirit, or the love of one’s country like a grown man wearing a sweater vest while turning the knobs of an Etch-a-Sketch.

Real leadership, friend. Real leadership’s name is RICK SANTORUM.

Rick Santorum is the next George Washington. He will lead us to victory in November.

Punchenko on March 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

He surely will or we’ll be royally screwed!

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Don’t fret, mozalf. Rick Santorum is a total and complete political opportunist who will sink to whatever low necessary to become our nominee. Rick will take to the podium, tear up, and drone on and on about the dangers of hand-holding; moral decay in interior decorating, and how we need compassionate government to save us from our hedonism.

I’m personally hoping for Rick to appoint Governor Huckabee to a new federal department to ensure that the length of all dresses hit well below the ankles. That issue is important to me, mozalf, and the dozens of other Americans like me who worry about such matters.

Santorum 2012

Punchenko on March 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I’m personally hoping for Rick to appoint Governor Huckabee to a new federal department to ensure that the length of all dresses hit well below the ankles. That issue is important to me, mozalf, and the dozens of other Americans like me who worry about such matters.

Punchenko on March 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

It’s Friday afternoon, I’m still in the bloody office, and I needed that laugh. Thanks, bro.

Archivarix on March 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM

I’m afraid Ron is defending Mitt in order to secure the VP slot. They have been in long private discussions lately.

Lothar on March 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Here’s to hoping that Rand Paul or Marco Rubio don’t commit political suicide by aligning up with that losing proposition if it comes to that.

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

…name one position on which (Ron Paul is) worse than the current squatter at 1600 Penn Ave.

Archivarix on March 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

That’s the problem with Paul. He’s all position with nothing to back it up.

Look at what Paul’s done in congress. (Nothing.) Usually voted the right way (including billions in pork for his district), but hasn’t made an impact on the course of the nation while in office for over two decades.

Paul is not leadership. His lack of record proves it.

At least Santorum wrote welfare reform and actually got it passed by a hostile president (Clinton).

shinty on March 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I would like to see President Romney appoint Ron Paul to head the EPA for the first two years of his administration and then move Paul to head the Dept. of Education for the next two years.

crosspatch on March 23, 2012 at 4:01 PM

That’s the problem with Paul. He’s all position with nothing to back it up.

Look at what Paul’s done in congress. (Nothing.) Usually voted the right way (including billions in pork for his district), but hasn’t made an impact on the course of the nation while in office for over two decades.

Paul is not leadership. His lack of record proves it.

At least Santorum wrote welfare reform and actually got it passed by a hostile president (Clinton).

shinty on March 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

That may – or may not, depending on whether you believe the Congress has done anything useful in the last few decades – show why Ron Paul could be worse than the other candidate. But my thesis was not that he’s better than them, but that he’s much better than Obama.

As for Santorum’s “leadership” record, it is an unmitigated disaster from a Small Government proponent’s point of view. Except for a decent stand on illegal immigration and Second Amendment, the guy has virtually nothing to go for him.

Archivarix on March 23, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I guess that makes Ron Paul a clown…

Or a sideshow freak. No, wait. That is what his supporters are.

Wolftech on March 23, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Newt Gingrich and Senator SweaterVest have, with this incident, lowered themselves to the level of prop comic.
Carrot Top is pleased, I am sure.
JohnGalt23 on March 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

I wondered how Santorum could manage to totally fluke-up his campaign like he did but then it dawned on me that, when you’re candidate who’s running around with playing with toys, it’s practically begging for something to go terribly wrong. And it did.

whatcat on March 23, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Paul is such a nutcase. Why is he even still in the primaries???

b1jetmech on March 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

And not a few of their supporters are like the trained monkey act.

It is absolutely sickening that the GOP can’t come up with anyone better than these two third-rate clowns, and even more depressing that conservatives think they’re the only options.

MelonCollie on March 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Crazy Uncle should be careful throwing stones. Has anyone heard a clip of him flipping out on the Morton Downey Show years ago? Yikes.

1 cult leader, 2 wannabes, & a guy who actually fixed things in Washington & who’s leading?

It’s true. America *is* too stupid to survive.

sandollar_sa on March 23, 2012 at 7:25 PM

That’s the problem with Paul. He’s all position with nothing to back it up.

Look at what Paul’s done in congress. (Nothing.)
shinty on March 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

A government that did nothing wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

YiZhangZhe on March 24, 2012 at 8:03 PM