The Week That Was: Romney's Etch A Sketch, DeNiro's Apology & More!

Six things you need to know right now about the election and campaign news of 2012!

Think you've heard everything you need to know about the campaign trail this week? Think you've already read the important stories you need to know about? Think again! iVillage is keeping an eye on the stories you definitely want to talk about this weekend, so here is our weekly round-up, The Week That Was:

1. Mitt Romney's Etch A Sketch campaign
After his Illinois primary victory this week, Mitt Romney must have thought, "FINALLY a big win!" Even though Illinois voter and iVoice contributor Beth Engelman is disappointed with the GOP field of presidential contenders, Romney won the day in her state. Romney's victory lap didn't last long, though. Eric Fehrnstrom, one of Romney's advisors, now has the most talked about political gaffe. While discussing the fact that the campaign isn't worried whether Romney will have to shift from far right positions back to the middle, he said, "...[Y]ou hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again." That was good news for Ohio Art, the maker of the Etch A Sketch. With all the publicity surrounding Fehrnstrom's remark, its stock price jumped over 200 percent!

2. Bill Maher tells Robert DeNiro to "stop apologizing!"
In New York City this week DeNiro crossed the line at a political fundraiser when, as he was introducing First Lady Michelle Obama, he stated, "Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?" The crowd apparently liked the introduction; the Obama campaign and First Lady's staff, not so much. Seems to me like DeNiro was just trying to have a little fun. Even though DeNiro has apologized, apparently Newt Gingrich is still waiting for President Obama to say he's sorry, as well, since the remarks were made at a fundraising event for his 2012 campaign. In response, Bill Maher--who's no stranger to controversy or innappropriate jokes--wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday entitled, "Please Stop Apologizing," in which he says everyone needs to stop being so sensitive. He writes, "Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize. If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth."

3. Congratulations Senator Barbara Mikulski!
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) hit a major milestone this week. On Wednesday, she became the longest serving woman in Congress in history.  75-year-old Mikulski, the dean of the women's Senate contingent, was first elected to Congress from her hometown of Baltimore in 1977. Then, she became a U.S. Senator in 1987. After 35 years in the rough and tumble world of politics, maybe it's time to retire? If she did, what would become of the monthly dinners she hosts for all women in the Senate, regardless of political party? She's a progressive Democrat, but there's some serious bipartisanship at play in those get-togethers. Who held the record until this week? The late Edith Nourse Rogers, a Republican from Massachusetts who served in Congress from 1925 until her death in 1960.

4. Are Democrats scaring women to get their votes?
That's what Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said this week when asked if Republicans were worried about the so-called war on women's health, including reproductive rights. Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, told Chris Matthews on MNSBC's Hardball that the current focus on women's reproductive health is a distraction that's been manufactured by the Democrats to scare women into voting for them and against the GOP in November. It's a good argument from the Republican side, but how does that explain the constant drum-beat about birth control from her party's presidential contenders and the wave of laws being introduced by conservative legislatures for forced transvaginal ultrasounds?

5. A new woman in the president's Cabinet
President Obama has come under attack from time to time for not having enough women in his cabinet and for running a White House that has been compared to a boy's club. The president has taken a step to make American women feel more like they're a part of the team by appointing the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to be a cabinet-level position. The woman who holds that slot is Karen Mills, who's been tasked with advocating for policies that help small businesses grow in this tight economy. Is this a political move to help the president win in November? Possibly, but it's still good news for business owners that their advocate in Washington now has an official place at the White House table.

6. Which farm animal are you?
One Georgia state lawmaker needs to be careful, because voters can have very long memories. In an odd twist on the women's health debate, Terry England was speaking on the Georgia Statehouse floor about a bill that would prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, even if the fetus was already dead or not expected the survive a full-term pregnancy. Not wanting to allow an exception for that circumstance, England said, Life gives us many experiences. I’ve had the experience of delivering calves, dead and alive — delivering pigs, dead and alive. … It breaks our hearts to see those animals not make it.” Having to carry and deliver a fetus you know is already stillborn is the same as delivering a stillborn farm animal? I have a feeling some women, especial women veterinarians, might have a thing or two to say to Representative England.

You can read more from iVillage iVote Editor and Correspondent Joanne Bamberger at her blog, PunditMom. Joanne is also the author of the Amazon bestseller Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

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