Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

ABC Team Obsess Over Romney's $10,000 Challenge to Perry

After ABC's Republican presidential debate on Saturday night, several members of the ABC team spoke of Mitt Romney's attempt to make a bet with Rick Perry about whether Perry was correct in asserting that Romney had advocated Massachusetts-style Romneycare as a model for the nation, with predictions that the $10,000 bet comment would hurt Romney with voters.

After arguing that Perry appeared to be the one who was factually incorrect in the dispute with Romney, ABC's Jake Tapper went on to predict Romney would still be harmed by the exchange. Tapper:


But the big issue, I think, is the fact that Mitt Romney was trying to wager a $10,000 bet in a debate in Iowa. The median income in this country means that $10,000 is roughly three months income. And even though he was just joking around, I think that that probably did not help him. And even if he'd won the letter of the bet, by making the bet, as Matthew Dowd pointed out earlier, he probably lost the (INAUDIBLE).


After co-host George Stephopoulos asked David Muir for his reaction, Muir noted that he had already emailed Romney campaign contacts about the subject, and then added:


But it's interesting we're talking about the $10,000 bet. A columnist for the Des Moines Register has already penned a column saying not too many caucus goers here in Iowa would ever place a $10,000 bet, even if it was a sure thing. So when we ask Americans a couple of days from now, they likely won't even remember, what issue this was about, but they will remember the $10,000 figure.


ABC News Political Director Amy Walter sooned revisited the $10,000 bet:


This was supposed to be a debate where Newt Gingrich was the one under the line of fire, but, instead, it really was Mitt Romney who made most of the headlines, and not all of them were very good. Obviously, the $10,000 bet being the top one here.


Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the post-debate coverage on ABC, from Saturday, December 10:


JAKE TAPPER: One thing I wanted to settle is that $10,000 bet that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney tried to wager with Rick Perry. Rick Perry said, "I read your first book, and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts should be the model for the country." Romney disputed that and offered to bet him $10,000. We do think actually that Governor Perry was not quoting exactly what Romney had said. What he actually had written that was removed from later editions of the book is we can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.

But the big issue, I think, is the fact that Mitt Romney was trying to wager a $10,000 bet in a debate in Iowa. The median income in this country means that $10,000 is roughly three months income. And even though he was just joking around, I think that that probably did not help him. And even if he'd won the letter of the bet, by making the bet, as Matthew Dowd pointed out earlier, he probably lost the (INAUDIBLE).

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: David Muir, what is the Romney camp saying about that?

DAVID MUIR: Well, it's funny that you ask that, George. I've already sent out emails to many of our contacts with the Romney campaign. ... (INAUDIBLE) ... But it's interesting we're talking about the $10,000 bet. A columnist for the Des Moines Register has already penned a column saying not too many caucus goers here in Iowa would ever place a $10,000 bet, even if it was a sure thing. So when we ask Americans a couple of days from now, they likely won't even remember, what issue this was about, but they will remember the $10,000 figure.

...

AMY WALTER, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: This was supposed to be a debate where Newt Gingrich was the one under the line of fire, but, instead, it really was Mitt Romney who made most of the headlines, and not all of them were very good. Obviously, the $10,000 bet being the top one here.


- Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center