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via CNN

Mitt Romney picked up a highly prized endorsement Wednesday from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush after a convincing victory the night before in the Illinois primary but then saw a top adviser’s televised comment provide new ammunition to his trailing rivals in the Republican presidential race.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s senior campaign adviser, was asked in a CNN interview Wednesday morning whether the former Massachusetts governor had been forced to adopt conservative positions in the rugged race that could hurt his standing with moderates in November’s general election.

“I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes,” Fehrnstrom responded. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again.”

Rival candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who are vying for conservative support against the more moderate Romney, seized on the comment as indicative of their longstanding criticism that Romney shifts his positions on issues such as health care reform and abortion to suit his political needs.

Gingrich brought out an Etch A Sketch at a campaign appearance in Louisiana, where the next primary takes place Saturday.

“You have to stand for something that lasts longer than this,” Gingrich said at the Lake Charles event, holding the drawing toy invented in 1959.

“You could not have found a more perfect illustration of why people distrust Romney than to have his (adviser) say that the Etch A Sketch allows you to erase everything in the general election,” Gingrich added. “You have to read the guy’s quote to realize — if he had set out to highlight for everybody why we distrust Romney, I think he couldn’t have done a better job.”

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Article courtesy cnn.com

Graphic courtesy talkingpointsmemo.com