While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s challenge to Rick Perry for a $10,000 bet seemed like a throwaway line in the last debate, The Hill
sees it as emblematic of a cracking of Romney’s previously impenetrable veneer.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who recently surpassed Romney in the polls, has been able to get to the former Massachusetts governor in a way that the other candidates haven’t. And it’s not as if Gingrich is the first Romney challenger to rocket upward in the polls. Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain preceded him.
Some GOP heavyweights are surprised that Gingrich has been able to rattle Romney.
“I admit, it’s shocking. They’re thrown a little bit,” a Republican strategist told The Hill. “The entire strategy of the campaign has been steady, steady. Let everyone come up and down around you, and when the dust settles, the steady candidate wins. Now it’s settled, and it’s not the case.”
The wager challenge reinforces one of the biggest criticisms of Romney – that he’s out of touch with ordinary Americans. Most of them would view $10,000 as an outrageous sum of money to put at risk. Romney offered Perry the bet over the issue of whether Romney had altered a portion of his book dealing with healthcare.
“To me he was getting emotional on a subject matter right there in the debate, and he was being pressed like he was wrong,” Timothy Fong, a psychiatrist and expert in gambling addiction, told The Hill. “It tells me that this guy lost his cool.”
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