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Meg Whitman To Host Romney Fundraiser In Redwood City

REDWOOD CITY (KCBS) - The Mitt Romney campaign was gearing up to shake the Bay Area money tree for more donations next Monday when it suddenly found itself trying to erase the Etch-a-Sketch gaffe.

When Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tried to wave off worries the candidate had run too far to the right, his comments Wednesday on CNN touched off a political firestorm.

"Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You kind of shake it up, and you start all over again," Fehrnstrom said on CNN's "Starting Point."

One veteran campaign analyst predicted that by the time Romney arrives for a fundraiser in Redwood City, hosted by Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, the news cycle will have moved to a new topic.

"It's about a 72-hour story," said Republican strategist Bob Gardner.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

"It's a good visual. Everybody can carry around Etch-a-Sketches, but it really, ultimately is not going to affect how he does," Gardner said.

That analogy to one of the all-time classic toys was pounced on by critics eager to question where Romney really stands as a conservative.

Gingrich, Santorum and the Democrats all handed out Etch-a-Sketches and suggested Romney shifts like sand.

But Gardner said Fehrnstrom was actually right, in that Republicans will line up behind whoever the nominee is after the convention.

"It's a one-on-one. It's a brand new election. We do hit the reset. He didn't say it in a very good way," Gardner admitted.

Indeed all may well be forgotten by the time Romney arrives in what Gardner called "cash central for both parties."

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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