Last night at the Republican debate, Mitt Romney bet Rick Perry $10,000 that Romney's book did NOT state that the Massachusetts health care mandate was a wise choice for the rest of the company. Romney, who is worth somewhere in the range of $150 million, wanted to let everyone know that he was SERIOUS about his position.
Democrats are already rejoicing at this apparent gaffe, which even spawned a Twitter hashtag last night. One analyst made the point that weeks from now, voters may not remember WHY Romney made the $10,000 bet. But they'll almost definitely remember that number. In Iowa, where the first caucus will be held in January, it's predicted that this won't go over well.
In my opinion, Romney went wrong by making the bet too believable. Even though the bet was kind of meant to be a joke, it was entirely plausible that a man of Romney's wealth could in fact make such a bet. He needed to go big or go home. Bet $5 billion, or bet $5. $10,000 sounds like an impressive amount to many Americans, where the median income is roughly $40,000, but Romney made it sound like he makes that much money in a day and could easily part with it. Not terribly presidential.