Mitt Romney is tired of hearing about the change made to his book that touts Massachusetts’ CommonWealth Care as a “model for the nation.” But Rick Perry keeps bringing it up.
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.”
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.
“You’re simply wrong, Rick,” Mr Romney said, during a debate in Des Moines, Iowa. “I’ll tell you what,” he added, offering his hand. “Ten-thousand bucks? A ten-thousand dollar bet?”
Mr Perry replied: “I’m not in the betting business.”
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.
Conservatives didn’t hold back on jokes directed at the wealthy Romney. Jonah Goldberg of the National Review tweeted that “Romney promises that his butler will ‘personally deliver’ $10,000 check if he loses,” which was quickly retweeted by RedState’s Erick Erickson.
Jonathan Martin, who covers the GOP race for Politico, also pounced. “Who among us doesn’t wager $10K at a time?” he tweeted.
But the reaction of former Obama White House aide Bill Burton to Romney’s bet was typical. Burton now runs a Democratic “super PAC.”
“Not a lot of 99%’ers are out there making $10,000 bets,” Burton wrote on Twitter.
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.”
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.
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.