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DNC, Perry Go After Romney for $10,000 Bet

DNC, Perry Go After Romney for $10,000 Bet

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - December 12, 2011


Mitt Romney is taking heat from both sides of the aisle for offering a $10,000 bet to rival Rick Perry during Saturday's Iowa GOP presidential debate. The former Massachusetts governor bet the Texas governor that he didn't advocate for a national health care plan in a previous edition of his book, "No Apology." The Democratic National Committee and Perry released Web videos slamming Romney for the bet, painting him as a candidate who is out of touch with average Americans.

Soon after Romney offered Perry the wager -- which his campaign downplayed as hypothetical because he was sure he was right -- in Des Moines Saturday night, the DNC went on the offense with the Twitter hash tag "#What10kBuys." The DNC came out with a Web video the next day titled "Mitt Romney: Simply Out of Touch -- Ten Thousand Times Over," which attacks the former governor for calling a $1,500 tax cut for the middle class a Band-Aid, for joking that he is "also unemployed," and saying "corporations are people."

"When you make a friendly bet between friends for $10,000, you're out of touch with middle-class Americans," reads a closing caption in the video.

In an email statement after the debate concluded, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also went after the former Bay State governor in her critique of the Republican field.

"Romney, a millionaire 200 hundred times over, had the most out-of-touch moment in any debate so far -- offering to bet Rick Perry $10,000 as casually as if it’s something he does all the time," she said.

Meanwhile, Perry's campaign released a minute-long video of its own. Titled "The Truth Cannot Be Bought," it opens with a clip of the exchange followed by comments from ABC's Jake Tapper highlighting the fact that $10,000 is roughly three months' income for someone earning the nation's median amount.

"Not many caucus-goers here in Iowa would ever place a $10,000 bet, even if it was a sure thing," ABC's David Muir says in a clip. "One bet you can count on . . . the truth isn't for sale," reads a caption. The spot then pivots to video of Perry doing retail politics against audio of him describing the upcoming presidential election as "one of the most important elections if not the most important election" in terms of getting the nation "back on track."

The exchange in Saturday night's debate came when Perry said Romney supported the individual mandate, a pillar of the Obama health care law that requires citizens to carry health insurance.

"I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts should be the model for the country. And I know it came out of -- of the -- the reprint of the book. But, you know, I'm just sayin', you were for individual mandates, my friend," Perry said, referring to changes made in the text between the hardcover and paperback versions. Romney responded that the Texas governor was wrong and went on to say, "I'll tell you what: 10,000 bucks -- $10,000 bet?"

That line led the post-debate news cycle. On Monday, Romney explained his wager on "Fox & Friends": "This was an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge from him. And it’s been proven wrong, time and time again and he keeps raising it, and I said, ‘OK, let’s put something outrageous out there.’ It’s like saying, ‘Hey, I’ll bet you a million bucks.' "

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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