It also fueled attacks from Democrats.
But Fehrnstrom sought to clarify the remark. “Fair-minded people know that I was referring to the race, not the candidate,” he said Friday.
“Mitt Romney goes into the general election standing on his conservative record as a businessman and a governor,” Fehrnstrom added Friday, noting, “the race itself changes in some very obvious ways.”
The Romney campaign, buoyed by its win in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary and other contests, is seeking to pivot into the campaign against Obama, although GOP hopefuls Rick Santorum and and Newt Gingrich remain in the race despite lagging far behind.
“We go from eight opponents to one opponent and of course we get to focus 100 percent on the failures of President Obama when it comes to the economy,” Fehrnstrom said.
Fehrnstrom highlighted Friday’s news that the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, ending a streak of three months above 200,000, as he defended the “Etch A Sketch” remark.
“The race changes, the candidate does not. Mitt Romney from the very beginning, from the very outset of his campaign, has been focused like a laser on the economy, and we got some news today that I think puts in stark contrast the difference between the Romney candidacy and what we have gotten over the last three years from the Obama administration,” he said, calling the March hiring numbers an “alarmingly weak jobs report.”
The aide also defended the campaign’s level of disclosure of Romney’s financial records, which have come under attack from Obama’s campaign.
“The governor has provided all of the disclosure that is required by law, and that is significant, but then he has gone one step further than that. He has voluntarily put forward hundreds of pages of tax return information for you and your colleagues in the press and members of the public to go through,” he said of Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.
Romney has released his 2010 tax information and an estimate for 2011, and Fehrnstrom said his full 2011 information would be provided when it is filed.
“Governor Romney has already indicated that he would do that, yes,” he said.
The Obama campaign has seized on a Washington Post report to allege that Romney is not forthcoming enough with his financial information. An April 5 Post story states that Romney has “taken advantage of an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the nature and extent of his holdings.”
Obama’s campaign manager on Thursday also noted that Obama, former President George W. Bush and Romney’s father, when he ran for president, released many more years worth of returns.
But Fehrnstrom, citing the release of 2010 and 2011 information, called the level of disclosure “sufficient.”
This post was updated at 11:02 a.m.