Romney's 'out of touch,' Perry says
December 11th, 2011
03:02 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney's 'out of touch,' Perry says

(CNN) – Rick Perry capitalized Sunday on fellow Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney's large bet offer the night before.

The Texas governor said Romney’s proposed $10,000 wager during Saturday's debate is a sign the former Massachusetts governor is "a little out of touch with normal Iowa citizens."

"I was taken a little aback," Perry said on "Fox News Sunday." "I'm driving out to the station this morning. I'm sure I didn't drive by a house that anyone in Iowa would even think about that a $10,000 bet was possible."

Romney challenged Perry to the bet over Perry’s claim that he removed a section from his book, “No Apologies,” which voiced support for a national health care mandate.

"10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?" Romney said to Perry, extending his hand.

"I'm not in the betting business," Perry responded.

Perry held firm Sunday, saying, "The issue of individual mandates is still at the center here and Mitt can deny this as many times as he wants."

"Even a 10,000 bet is not going to cover that," Perry added.

Romney has repeatedly defended the health care plan passed in Massachusetts as a state experiment, not necessarily meant for the entire country. The individual mandate in the current health care law is at the heart of Republican criticism of the measure.

"The right course for America - and I've said this during the debates last time around; I'll say it now and time again - is to let individual states - this is a remarkable nation," Romney said Saturday. "This idea of federalism is so extraordinary. Let states craft their own solutions. Don't have ‘ObamaCare’ put on us by the federal government."

The bet became a popular topic on Twitter after the event and Democrats quickly attacked Romney as out-of-touch with struggling Americans, a consistent point of criticism toward the top-tier candidate and former business executive.

Rival candidate Jon Huntsman, who did not participate in Saturday's debate, created a website,, that seeks to explain why "Mitt Romney Owes Rick Perry $10,000," complete with articles, video and tweets.

But Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom equated Romney’s proposal to a typical bet with friends intended to combat a “false attack.”

“Usually the sum of your bet depends on how strongly you feel about the rightness of your position,” Fehrnstrom told reporters after the debate. “So when Mitt Romney made that bet, he did so knowing that Rick Perry wouldn’t take it, and by backing down Rick Perry looks weak.”

- CNN's Political Producers Rachel Streitfeld and Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry
soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. Greater Good

    These candidates represent the party that looks out exclusively for the "haves" in America and probably don't see anything unusual about the wager. Chump change for most, in fact. And I'd wager that none of them, with the exception of Ron Paul, knows any poor people–other than those who cook for them, drive them, or tend their gardens. Mitt ("corporations are people") Romney's comment brings back memories of John McCain–who famously couldn't remember (or wouldn't say) how many homes he owned during the 2008 campaign.

    December 11, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. bilk7

    Huntsman did not choose not to attend the debate. Due to his low standings in the polls, he was not asked to be there. A shame.....he's the only candidate that could possibly compete with Obama in a general election.

    December 11, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. sqeptiq

    Woman in california: Huntsman did NOT chose not to attend; he was not invited (too low in polls).

    December 11, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  4. bilk7

    All anyone has to do is read the first edition of Romney's book and check it against the lastest print. Perry is right.....the part about the Massachusetts Health Care plan working for the whole country was removed!

    December 11, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  5. judith

    Gee, I didn't know Mormons were allowed to gamble. For once the dumbest man in Texas (Perry) actually spoke the truth. Mitt Romney is so out of touch with ordinary working persons, he hasn't a clue. Mitt was born with a silver spoon, avoided military service to be a missionary in France and manipulated money to further enrich himself. He hasn't a clue to the struggles of ordinary people. Go away Willard–we don't want you or need you.

    December 11, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. bilk7

    Eric (Krazy Khazei) Fernstrom isn't helping Romney at all with this campaign. He's smug and arrogant. He's also working for Sen. Scott Brown and he's going to get him beat out of his Senate seat too!

    December 11, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  7. E Grebe

    As a Democrat & one of the 99% I interpreted Mitt's large bet offer as challenge to Perry's honesty about his claim! When someone knows the truth, a large amount of a bet is simply a sign of his confidence. Of course, I'd not vote for any of the Republican candidates – Bush & his gang have almost ruined this country! The current crop is trying to finish the job.

    December 11, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  8. J.V.Hodgson

    This is sensible realistic political debate from people who want to be president of the USA. No thanks to either of them.

    December 11, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. A Texas Democrat

    Tweedle, tweedle dum.dum,dum,dum,dum . They`re all alike, they just want the big payoffs that await whoever wins out.

    December 11, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  10. MadInCT

    If I were a betting man I'd say that both these fools are watching Obama's inauguration ball in their jammies 1/20/2013!

    December 11, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. Ken

    I dunno about Iowans, but as a poor Coloradan, I'd be happy if I could win 10k off Rick Perry's lies.

    December 11, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  12. Poipounder

    Republicans should be betting against the economy like their good at. and focus all their resources on making Obama a one term president. They said it publicly and that is why this independent feels Obama should get a 2nd term.

    December 11, 2011 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  13. Jim

    Come on! Romney has his flaws but he still is the most qualified candidate.

    December 11, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. DavidE7

    Romney IS in touch, but with the misguided values of the Republican establishment. It is the Republican establishment that is totally out of touch. They don't understand that Romney's ceiling is the 20% of Republicans who identify with America's wealthiest 1%. Romney never had any chance, and yet all we heard was that he was the "front-runner" and the "presumptive nominee". What garbage.

    December 12, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  15. AlaskaPalin

    Cooperations are people. The unemployed aren't? Myth romney might be asking himself; 'where is the love'. If after nearly a decade of campaigning myth is not polling at least 40 percent amongst republican; he might as well suspend his campaign.

    December 12, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  16. PD Gupta

    Mitt Romney was a partner at Bains Capitals for twenty-five years that he boasts of all the time by saying "I was in the private sector and I know how to create jobs". His actions during that period at Bains Capitals made him and all his friends in the private equity investment farm millionaires and at the same time many (thousands?) people lost their jobs because of multiple mergers and buy out of companies looking for capital investments for growth and survival. Mitt Romney's primary job at Bains Capitals was nothing but taking huge bets (risks) by using private/public investors' (like pension funds and millionaire individuals) money (and hence no liability if the bet is lost!) to buy sick industries and then impose big lay-offs and other cost cutting measures, wait until the books are black and sell (by going public) the industry again for millions of $ profit and so on. Therefore, Mitt Romney is a gambler by heart and profession all his life. Mitt Romney in White House would be much like Las Vagus is in charge of the entire nation! In the betting business only a few win, all others are losers! Again, if Mitt Romney becomes the US President in 2012, he wins his own bet and the rest of the nation (280 million people) becomes the loser by default.

    December 12, 2011 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  17. Tony

    I can't believe it. Perry is right on something. Maybe Perry is not a complete idiot. Perhaps Republican voters should give Perry a second look, in case Gingrich implodes, which, as Gingrich himself has admitted, he could.

    December 12, 2011 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  18. Dave

    Our country has sunk to an incredible low to even consider any of these people as our leader!

    December 12, 2011 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  19. Whip

    OK CNN time for you to spread your sample of people to poll. Ron Paul is winning the polls not controlled by the news medias. Look for yourself. Quit making up what you want to report and publish the truth. Oh I almost forgot stop the "spinning" of the stories to suit YOUR needs.

    Thank you

    December 12, 2011 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  20. n2video

    That's really funny. ALL the GOP candidates are out of touch.

    December 12, 2011 03:32 am at 3:32 am |
  21. Lizard Lance

    Of the seven I'll pick Ron Paul. The other six lack the common sense God gave a gnat when it comes to most everyday issues that affect most Americans. For Rick Perry to accuse Mitt Romney of "being out touch" is much like Albert Pujols accusing Alex Rodriguez of being money hungry. Rick Perry needs to go back to his own state where he can drool and froth at the mouth at the thought of all the executions he can oversee!

    December 12, 2011 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  22. Bob Ramos

    But Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom equated Romney’s proposal to a typical bet with friends intended to combat a “false attack.”

    “Usually the sum of your bet depends on how strongly you feel about the rightness of your position,” Fehrnstrom told reporters after the debate. “So when Mitt Romney made that bet, he did so knowing that Rick Perry wouldn’t take it, and by backing down Rick Perry looks weak.”

    Eric is just doing damage control. The unemployment rate is about 8.6%; millions are out of work, underemployed or plain stopped looking for work. By using national tv to make a silly $10,000 bet, Romney effectively "slit" his own throat. When you combine his lifestyle with his public behaviour, he comes out as being far apart from the American people. How can he possibly understand what millions are going through?

    December 12, 2011 04:24 am at 4:24 am |
  23. ochomme

    Say what you will about Mitt, this election is the Republican's to loose. And, if they AGAIN nominate someone like Perry or Newt who moderates, Independents, and Reagan Dems can't support, they will loose AGAIN. They are going to hand this election to Obama on a silver platter, just like in 2008. It's the economy stupid!!! But all the Repubs can talk about is abortion and gay marriage. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

    December 12, 2011 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  24. clarke

    Really, this is as good as it gets . Neither one is the man, but
    i would take Mitt over Perry any day.

    December 12, 2011 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  25. willie floyd

    Michelle Bachman actually made an intelligent comment (her 1st) "there isn't a dimes' worth of difference between Mitt and Newt". Well said and totally correct.

    After thought-has anyone else imagined Callista as our 1st Lady?? Talk about a come down from Michelle Obama!!!!

    December 12, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
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