Romney aide’s gaffe prompts Etch A Sketch sales boom


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When Mitt Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom said that the candidate would "hit a reset button" for his expected presidential campaign, comparing it to an Etch A Sketch toy you can shake up and start again, he dismayed many right-wing observers.

But while the gaffe took the shine off his Illinois primary victory, it's coming up gold for Ohio Art Company, the firm that's been making the classic toy since 1960.

Sales are up. Way, way up. On Amazon, the traditional 9.5" Etch A Sketch has increased its sales over 3,000% since yesterday, shooting it to 51st place in the best-seller chart. At least two have found their way into the hands of Romney opponents Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both of whom appeared in public with the toys this week.

[Related: Romney responds to Etch A Sketch gaffe]

Shares in Ohio Art have jumped as well, as the stock doubled on Thursday to reach a 52-week high.

"It kind of caught us by surprise," Larry Killgallon, president of Ohio Art, admitted to CNBC.

In a statement sent to ThinkProgress, Ohio Art seemed amused by the toy's meteoric rise in popularity.

"Happy to see Etch A Sketch, an American classic toy, is DRAWING attention with political candidates as a cultural icon and important piece of our society," the company said. "A profound toy, highly recognized and loved by all, is now SHAKING up the national debate. Nothing is as quintessentially American as Etch A Sketch and a good old fashion political debate."

It's not just the physical toy that's seeing an uptick in popularity. Freeze Tag Games, who create licensed Etch A Sketch apps for iOS and Android devices, has seen downloads triple in the past 24 hours.

But don't feel too bad for Mitt. Every cloud has a silver lining -- especially when you have a finger in as many pies as he does. According to MSNBC, Romney's Bain Capital firm is a part-owner of Toys 'R Us, a major retailer of Etch A Sketch and other toys. Perhaps the upturn in sales will make the jabs of his political rivals a little easier to bear.

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