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Watch: US presidential hopeful Romney offers rival $10,000 bet

Mitt Romney was challenged by Texan evangelist Rick Perry during last night’s Republican debate – and responded with a big-money offer…

Image: tpmtv via YouTube

WE HEAR A lot about big spending in election campaigns – but when was the last time you heard a candidate offer $10,000 to settle a point?

That was the wager suggested by would-be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney last night when he was challenged by rival Rick Perry over his position on healthcare.

Perry claimed that Romney was in favour of ‘individual mandates’ on healthcare, meaning laws meaning that every citizen would be obliged to purchase health insurance. The issue is a highly contentious one in the States.

“You’ve raised that before, Rick, and you’re simply wrong,” Romney responded, extending his hand toward Perry. “Rick, I’ll tell you what: 10,000 bucks?”

Perry laughed it off: “I’m not in the betting business.”

Video: tpmtv

The incident was immediately seized upon by Romney’s rivals as an indicator that the wealthy businessman is out of touch with the average American. “I want to know if he has $10,000 in his pocket,” said a spokesman for fellow Republican candidate Newt Gingrich after the debate.

Gingrich, the frontrunner in polls to take the Republican nomination, was seen as coming out on top in last night’s head-to-head in Des Moines, Iowa. The Guardian reports that Gingrich was attacked by Romney over his long and scandal-tinged career in politics – with Romney trumpeting his own experience in the private sector.

Gingrich hit back by suggesting that former Massachusetts governor Romney would also have had a longer career in politics, if he had not failed to be elected to the Senate in 1994.

A recent poll showed Gingrich with a commanding lead to become the Republican candidate – on 38 points against Romney’s 17, according to AFP.

The other candidates, including Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum, are also lagging behind in the polls.

- Additional reporting from AP

More: US presidential hopeful Perry’s latest ad causes split in his own campaign>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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