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.

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“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.

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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.”

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