Mitt Romney's Bad Bet

Mitt Romney's Bad Bet

The ease with which Mitt Romney challenged rival Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet attracted criticism that he's out of touch with ordinary Americans.

Published December 12, 2011

White House hopeful Mitt Romney, a proud member of the Mormon faith, has never been one to gamble, unless of course one counts his two presidential bids. But at Saturday's GOP debate he took a big risk, throwing down a $10,000 wager to rival Gov. Rick Perry to refute the latter’s assertion that he deleted from his book No Apology, a passage that supported a mandate for individuals to carry health insurance.


“I’m not in the betting business,” was Perry’s reply.


Democrats and Republican rivals seized the opportunity to use the bet as a sign of how out of touch Romney, whose net worth is reportedly $200 million, is with the economic struggles of ordinary Americans.


The Texas lawmaker said the next day on Fox News Sunday that he was taken aback by the challenge.


"I'm driving out to the station this morning, I'm pretty sure I didn't drive by a house that anyone in Iowa would think a $10,000 bet was possible. It was a little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen."


The Democratic National Committee’s rapid response team sent out an email outlining what $10,000 means to the average American family, including more than four months’ pay, three times the annual grocery budget, and a year’s worth of mortgage payments. It also produced a video ad titled Romney Out of Touch “Ten Thousand Times Over.”  The Twitter hashtag it created, #What10kBuys, is trending worldwide.


GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman bought the Web domain, which includes links to related news stories.


Romney is dismissing the bet as much ado about nothing and said the figure was an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge.”


“It’s like saying, Hey, I’ll bet you a million bucks,” he said Monday on Fox News.


But Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the DNC, maintained on Monday that Romney just doesn’t get it.


Romney "casually threw out a $10,000 bet the other night, like it's a dollar or five dollars for other people," she said. "I mean, this is a person who really doesn't understand what's going on in middle-class America."


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(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Written by Joyce Jones


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