DES MOINES — As Twitter, his opponents and Democrats blew up with mockery of Mitt Romney’s $10,000 bet offer to Rick Perry at Saturday’s debate, the Romney campaign denied to TPM that their candidate had lost the narrative when he dropped the wager offer on Perry.
“I thought it was a good moment for Mitt,” Romney strategist Eric Ferhnstrom told TPM in the spin room after the debate. “I thought that Rick Perry, by backing down, looked weak.”
Ferhnstrom said “the reason Gov. Romney made the bet was because he knew Rick Perry wouldn’t take it.”
“Ten thousand dollars sounds stronger than 50 cents,” Ferhnstrom explained.
The rest of the political world doesn’t seem to agree. Democrats said the image of a multimillionaire casually offering to wager a fifth of the annual Iowa median income won’t do much to mitigate the criticism that Romney’s an out of touch member of the 1%.
Romney’s Republican opponents were eager to pile on.
“My only question is, did he have the cash in his pocket?” R.C. Hammond, the spokesperson for Newt Gingrich told TPM.
Michele Bachmann’s campaign picked up the Democrats’ ball and ran with it.
“It has to be difficult for the people of Iowa who who have a job or don’t have a job — it’s hard for them to feel like someone can feel their pain when they’re out there throwing out $10,000 bets,” Alice Stewart, Bachmann’s spokesperson, told TPM. “I think it does a lot to take away your ability to connect to average Iowans and people across the country when you’ve got that kind of money to throw around.”