Democrats Do Backflips Over Romney’s 10K Bet
Democrats could barely contain their glee after Mitt Romney proposed a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry over his health care position.
“He’s going to own that $10,000 bet line,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse said on Twitter. “Nothing else he has said in this debate matters.”
Before the debate ended, the DNC was out with an e-mail to reporters trying to put the $10,000 number into perspective, noting it was more than the average in-state tuition at a public university, for example.
But it was Twitter where things really took off. Woodhouse and other DNC officials began tweeting a #What10kbuys hashtag to amplify their message, with items like a year of daycare for the average family. Within less than a half hour of the debate’s end, it was one of the top trending topics not just in Iowa, or in the United States, but around the world, according to Twitter.
“I’ll bet you ten thousand beers Mitt lives to regret that $10K bet line,” Democratic strategist Paul Begala tweeted.
The episode recalled Romney’s “corporations are people” moment at an Iowa event, which Democrats pounced on in similar fashion. Romney responded to that episode, which many observers interpreted as a gaffe at the time, by doubling down on the line and using it again on the trail and in his official economic plan.
It appears they’re taking a similar tack this time as well. Romney spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, for his part, told TPM that he thought the line went over just fine, describing it as a “good moment” for the former Massachusetts governor.
“It made Perry look weak,” he said, adding that Romney made the wager “because he knew Perry wouldn’t take it.”
Evan McMorris-Santoro contributed to this post.
Romney's $10,000 bet falls flat in Iowa debate
DES MOINES |
(Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney put his money where his mouth was on Saturday in a quip at a presidential debate that may have backfired.
Romney, a multi-millionaire and a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, offered a $10,000 bet to opponent Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an argument over what Romney wrote about healthcare in his book "No Apologies."
Former Massachusetts governor Romney tried to bet that he had not supported implementing an individual healthcare mandate, mistrusted by conservatives.
"Rick, I'll tell you what: 10,000 bucks?," Romney said. Perry, like many of those assembled at Iowa's Drake University for the debate, seemed surprised by the offer.
"I'm not in the betting business, but I'll show you the book," Perry said.
The bet line could potentially hurt Romney, who has suffered in the polls in recent weeks as former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich has risen in the polls. Romney's wealth has long been a point of attack from Democrats who say the former head of Bain Capital is out of touch.
Bill Burton, spokesman for PrioritiesUSA, an outside group supporting President Barack Obama's re-election, said the attempted wager is another sign that in an economy with 8.6 percent unemployment, Romney "could not be more out of step."
Burton, a former Obama administration official, pointed to other statements Romney has made joking about being unemployed and calling corporations people.
"It is predictable that Mitt Romney will slip up and let folks in on who he is from time-to-time," Burton said in an email. "Corporations are people, joking about being unemployed and now this. Mitt Romney has no clue what pain the American middle class is feeling right now."
Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Romney adviser, said the campaign was not concerned the comment might make its candidate appear out of touch.
"Not at all," Fehrnstrom said in an email to Reuters. "Mitt Romney knew that Rick Perry wouldn't take the bet because it's a phony attack. By backing down, Perry looked weak."
Rival Republican Jon Huntsman's campaign seized on Romney's remark, promising in an email that the website 10KBet.com was on its way.
"While Jon Huntsman signed free-market health care without a mandate, Mitt Romney was arguing that his government-run, mandate approach should be a model for the nation," Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller said.
"I guess he owes Rick Perry $10,000."
Romney foes will take that bet
Mitt Romney's $10,000 bet could come back to haunt him
Mitt Romney, the millionaire who has tried again and again to try to show voters that he’s just another everyday Joe, may have given his GOP rivals and President Obama a gold-plated gift in Saturday’s debate in Iowa.
While sparring with Rick Perry over healthcare at the debate in Des Moines, Romney challenged Perry to a wager. The stakes? A cool 10 grand.
That’s not exactly your typical bar bet.
Perry had accused Romney of altering a paperback version of his book to delete a line that had Romney wanting to make his Massachusetts healthcare plan a model for the rest of the nation, suggesting that Romney is a champion of an individual mandate to force people to purchase health insurance.
Romney said that wasn’t true.
“I'll tell you what. 10,000 bucks? Ten-thousand-dollar bet?” Romney said.
“I’m not in the betting business,” Perry replied.
Romney, who likes to talk about his work creating jobs as a venture capitalist in the private sector, is estimated to be worth between $190 million and $250 million.
Should he go on to win the Republican nomination, the clip from Saturday's debate may be replayed again and again in Democratic attack ads.
The reaction of former Obama White House aide Bill Burton to Romney's bet was typical. Burton now runs a Democratic "super PAC."