Romney’s Big Bet Could Cost Him

Mitt Romney challenges Rick Perry to $10,000 bet in GOP debate
During the GOP debate in Iowa, former governor Mitt Romney responded to former governor Rick Perry’s persistent jabs about his previous stance on Massachusetts’ “Romneycare” plan with a question of his own: was Rick Perry willing to bet $10,000 that the missing quote from the reprint of Romney’s book in the original? Former Governor Perry turned down the bet, citing that he’s “not in the betting business.”

What know waits to be seen is how this will affect the Romney campaign. The American public has never responded well to acknowledgements of elitism from the ruling class. McCain’s gaffe that he didn’t know how many houses he owned cost him several points in the 2008 election. Flaunting a $10,000 bet on national television, an amount most people don’t make in a month, smacks of such elitism. Both sides have potential to run with this. Romney can claim that he made such a massive bet because he knew he was right and therefore it wasn’t much of a bet. But Perry’s campaign can also approach it from a different angle. As anyone who has ever played poker knows, someone with a large stack of chips can win even if he has the losing hand by putting forward a massive bet, one that might hurt him, but not nearly as much as it would hurt his competitor’s were they to lose. In doing so, the player, sometimes called a “whale,” can play off the insecurities of his competitors. They think they’re right, but with such a massive bet on the line, they’re not willing to push it and instead back down. Romney’s gaffe leaves an opening for his opponents. They can run smears on the bet, that’s it’s a sign of him throwing his weight around and trying to muscle out smaller competitors. Parallels to monopolistic corporations would come easy. Combined with the under-current of anti-corporate feelings running throughout the country (as seen by the Occupy Wall Street group) and Romney’s historic past closer associations with the party responsible for such bank and corporate bail-outs, such a shot across the bow could be extremely damaging for the Romney campaign.

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