Romney's opponents are taunting the candidate openly, with Rick Santorum tweeting a photo of himself playing with the toy and Newt Gingrich bringing one out at a rally. It's ballooned into an internet meme, and the makers of Etch A Sketch are seeing sales skyrocket.
Surprising? Sure, but it's hardly the first time a political gaming gaffe has made waves. While Romney and his crew continue the damage control, they might take solace knowing that plenty of other public figures have gotten in hot water over a game.
Solitaire in The House
Learning that politicians aren't always working hard to protect their constituents is hardly surprising news. Still, it's rare to see them publicly flaunting their disinterest in our well-being.
In 2009, the Associated Press published a now-famous photo of a pair of Connecticut lawmakers sitting in the back row of the state's House of Representatives playing Solitaire as a debate raged over the state budget. Freshman representatives Barbara Lambert and Jack F. Hennessy were caught red-handed. After the incident, Lambert decided not to seek re-election. Hennessy, though, won another term...and probably his Solitaire game.
Farmville takes down Bulgarian politician
It's not just U.S. politicians who have gotten in trouble through inappropriate gaming.
In Bulgaria, Plovdiv city council member Dimitar Kerin was one of several politicians caught playing Farmville during a budget meeting. He must have made some enemies before that, though, as a rival suggested he should be removed from his seat as he "needs more time for his virtual farm."
The council agreed and let him go, though others who had been caught remained on the board. Our guess? Too much time spamming his friends for bales of hay.
Baldwin booted from plane
Alec Baldwin's love of Words With Friends made national headlines last December when the actor was booted from an American Airlines flight after refusing to quit playing the game. Within minutes, he became the unofficial spokesperson for the game, using Twitter as his bullhorn.
"Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving," he wrote after the incident. A short while later, he posted a screen grab of the game showing the words "Let Alec Play."
The Boston Red Sox locker room curse
The Sox were favored to win the American League East and make it to the World Series last year. They didn't.
The team famously collapsed at the end of the season, losing 18 of their final 24 games. The Boston Globe wrote a scathing report about the team, noting that star pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey developed the habit of drinking beer, eating fast-food fried chicken and -- you guessed it -- playing video games in the clubhouse during games when they weren't pitching.
"Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible," said the report. "So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse's flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis."
The PlayStation 2 bodyslams pro wrestling
Maybe the Red Sox should have taken a cue from the WWE.
In 2001, Vince McMahon's wrestling organization conclusively won the Monday Night Wars, buying rival organization WCW, which for years had threatened its dominance of the pro wrestling world. But four years later, the product was growing stale. Fans complained the matches were lackluster and the shows were uninspired.
The WWE decided part of the problem was the habit many wrestlers had of playing video games backstage instead of watching and learning from live matches. The organization promptly banned games from the backstage area, though gamers do get the chance to throw down virtually once a year at the company's THQ Superstar Challenge event.
- Mitt Romney
- Etch A Sketch
- Rick Santorum