Romney Face-Tattoo Guy Has a Change of Heart

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 29 2012 10:22 AM

The Man With the Romney Face Tattoo Finally Finds a Reason To Get It Removed

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Romney campagin pins are on display for sale in the GOP gift shop during the third day of the Republican National Convention

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Eric Hartsburg, a 30-year-old Indiana man best known as That Guy Who Got a Romney Tattoo on His Face, has finally found a reason to get the red and blue "R" logo lasered off—something that only a few weeks ago he was insisting would never happen.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

It totally has absolutely nothing at all to do with his desire for publicity and need for attention.* Not one bit.

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Here, we'll let Politico—which has spent a possibly unhealthy amount of time talking to Hartsburg in recent weeks—explain:

Tattoo removal chain Dr. TATTOFF offered to remove it for free, an offer Hartsburg originally rejected, telling POLITICO earlier this month, "I still love the ink and I am a man of my word and will keep the tattoo for life."
But then he heard some of Romney’s post-election comments, most notably his claim that the president won reelection because of "gifts" given to various constituencies. "It stands not only for a losing campaign but for a sore loser," Hartsburg said. "He’s pretty shameful as far as I’m concerned, man. There’s no dignity in blaming somebody else for buying votes and paying off people. I can’t get behind that or stay behind that."
As a result, Hartsburg changed his mind and decided to accept Dr. TATTOFF’s offer.

So to recap, Hartsburg sold the prime advertising real estate that is his face for $5,000 before the election. He was still totally loving the ink after Romney lost the election. Then, and only then, he had a change of heart after hearing Romney say pretty much the same thing that he'd been caught saying on the "47 percent" tape that played on a near-constant loop on cable news networks for a stretch this fall.

The only good news out of all this is that Hartsburg at least seems to kinda, sorta grasp that his 15 minutes of fame will soon be up:

"With the tattoo gone, you can’t say, ‘Hey look, it’s the Romney face tattoo guy from TV,’" Hartsburg said. "I’ll still be that guy, but the tattoo’s gone, so some of the allure might be lost."

That small dose of self-awareness, however, is outweighed by the news that he's already looking for his next 15:

"After it’s off, I’ll put the space back up for sale, but I might be a little bit more choosy about political tattooing," Hartsburg said. "But things can change, you know?"
"We’ll see in four years what the election brings and what candidates come along," he said, joking that if Marco Rubio runs in 2016, perhaps the “R” tattoo could enjoy a second life. Or maybe he’ll just switch to a less permanent way of supporting Republicans.

I'm going to go ahead and respect Facebook's copyright policy on photos (hey, someone has to) and not steal a pic of the tattoo from Hartsburg's profile, but those of you who somehow haven't seen it yet can check out a gallery here.

*Yes, I realize I am feeding the beast somewhat.

**Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

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