(CNN) – A Mitt Romney surrogate downplayed the negative impact of his proposed $10,000 bet during Saturday’s GOP presidential debate as a “figure of speech.”
Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a supporter of the former Massachusetts governor, also used his explanation to level a dig at current frontrunner Newt Gingrich.
“I think the only thing that will come out of that is it will remind people of a $500,000 outstanding bill at Tiffany’s,” Sununu said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet Saturday to prove he did not remove a controversial line about mandating health care from his book. The moment quickly became a focal point of the debate, seemingly prompting Sununu to raise Gingrich’s Tiffany problem, which arose over the summer when news of a line of credit from the high-end jeweler became public.
Meanwhile, former Rep. Bob Walker, a Gingrich adviser, said the moment will prove damaging to Romney.
“The fact is anything that comes out of these debates that ends up being carried in the way that this one is, is going to be harmful,” Walker told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “The quip by Gov. Romney last night fits a matter of perception.”
Walker said Gingrich’s statements of truth are to blame for the disapproval he receives from the other GOP contenders, specifically citing his recent comments about an “invented Palestinian people.”
“He spoke the truth about Palestinian history,” Walker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Sununu disagreed, saying the comments were the latest example of Gingrich, the former House speaker and history professor, trying to prove his intelligence.
“In an effort to put himself above the whole, a little smarter than everyone, he throws out a phrase that can undermine the U.S. capacity to deal with issues,” Sununu said.
Gingrich drew criticism after he told The Jewish Channel last week that historically, the Palestinian people were “invented.”
"I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state," Gingrich said in the interview. "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, who are historically part of the Arab community."
Some Palestinian leaders declared his statement “racist,” while Team Gingrich stood by the interview, saying he was simply referencing “decades of complex history.”
Walker compared the push-back to that felt by former President Ronald Reagan from “establishment Republicans” after his classification of the former Soviet Union as the “evil empire.”
However, Sununu said, “Every time this man [Gingrich] speaks he tries to put himself in a position where he’s perceived as being better than those that are involved in the discussion.”
Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.
How many average Americans can glibly toss out a $10,000 bet. These guys are so out of touch. No wonder they are defending tax breaks for millionaires.
I love how Walker put us all at ease by saying Newt is mature now, so everything will be OK. We always wanted a President that waited 60 plus years before becoming a mature adult.
I watched the debate and Romney seemed to be out of breath as he struggled to find the words to do battle. He did not appear to be able to make good decisions when he offered that $10,000 bet with perry. Perry is a dolt and is still as dumb as a box of rocks. Gingrich- I would never, never give the Grinch a second thought. I am not a Ron Paul fan by any stretch of the imagination however, I predict that Paul will win the Iowa primary.
Mittens gets flustered too easy. I do not believe that he has any clue what the 99% have been subjected to during the Bush republican error. He seems to act more like a spoiled brat than a presidential contender.
One thing we learned is that there is not a republican candidate running for president who is even qualified to carry Obama's jock strap.
We need to think about this election. Its a bad idea to go back to the policies that created the mess in the first place. Ask Senator McConnell if he supported those policies and is doing everything he can to block anything from President Obama. And the rest of us are supposed to agree with that?
Newt needs to keep his mouth shut for a few months, until he gets the republican nomination, then he can spout all his stupidity.
I am absolutely stunned that there are people that believe the fairy tales of the Republican/GOP Tea people. Its almost like the world started on Jan 09 when Obama was sworn in and all of a sudden, he was at fault for EVERYTHING.
Our president inherited a complete mess and Now We have Idiots saying we should go back to those policies. What's worse is they are blaming Obama for all the problems and giving him NO Credit for what improvements he's made to the mess he inherited.
Newt seemed to have his eye on Bachman and Perry was giving Mitt an appraising look... Could love be in the air?
Newt Gingrich: Jack of all trades, master of none – and he winks too.
Reports about Romney avoiding the media are true. Now that he has to talk to the Media (only Fox), we should expect more gaffes. I do expect the $10,000 bet to hurt him some with independents.
RON PAUL 2012