Hudson, New Hampshire (CNN) – Mitt Romney offered up a mea culpa via his wife Sunday, the day after the presidential candidate offered his opponent a $10,000 bet in a debate performance some analysts called his weakest to date.
"After the debate was over Ann came up and gave me a kiss and said I was great. And she said, 'There are a lot of things you do well. Betting isn't one of them,'" Romney told reporters in New Hampshire.
Romney's high-dollar bet came in a moment of pique Saturday night, as he accused Texas Gov. Rick Perry of misquoting his writings on health care. Romney offered to bet Perry $10,000 that he was right.
The candidate's advisers quickly worked to contain the potential damage of Romney's comment, which came in a debate in which the candidate acknowledged he was raised in an affluent household.
"I didn't grow up poor," Romney said Saturday. "And if somebody is looking for someone who's grown up with that background, I'm– I'm not the person."
He seemed undaunted by the bad debate reviews Sunday, as he cracked jokes with a town hall audience in Hudson and described talking with New Hampshirites as they waited in line to see Santa Claus in Milford that morning.
"I got a chance to meet a lot of people today because they were lined up to see Santa Claus," he said. "So, as a good politician I saw an opportunity."
He took one veiled swipe at opponent Newt Gingrich, after a voter asked how he would work to achieve a two-state solution in the Middle East.
Gingrich has come under for fire for remarks he made calling Palestinians an "invented" people, language some of his opponents charged was inflammatory.
"I will speak with care and caution and stability and sobriety, and I will speak in collaboration with the leaders in Israel," Romney told the audience.
The former governor also played up his outsider status, telling the audience he supported term limits for legislators serving in Congress and taking aim at the nation's capital city.
"I am not a creature of Washington," he said, adding after he served as president he would return to his New Hampshire summer home in the state's lake region. "I will go home. I love Lake Winnipesaukee a lot better than I love Washington, I've gotta tell you."
Speaking with the media after his event, Romney went a step further than before when asked about campaign surrogates who have attacked Gingrich.
He said his supporters, such as former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who has called Gingrich "self-aggrandizing" and "irrational," were culling from their own experience with the former speaker.
"I will not distance myself from the comments of people who are describing their experience and their assessment of the speaker based on that experience," Romney said.