George Stephanopoulos Wonders Just how 'Damaging' Romney's 'Bad Bet' Is

All three morning shows on Monday hyped Mitt Romney's $10,000 wager from Saturday's Republican debate. Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos wondered just how "damaging" Romney's "bad bet" would be.

Stephanopoulos, who previously gloated over whether his interview would "spell the end" of Herman Cain, offered a similar take, Monday. He teased, "How damaging was Mitt Romney's $10,000 bet at our ABC News debate. He's shrugging off all the critics calling him out of touch. But, will this memorable moment shake up the race one more time?"

Reporter Jake Tapper used the incident to offer a shot at Rick Perry, joking, "And 12 hours after the wager, Rick Perry finally thought of a comeback" to Romney.

The attempted bet was over the ex-Massachusetts governor's book and Perry's mangled characterization of a passage. Tapper explained that Twitter "exploded with snark" as a result.

He added, "After all, $10,000 is more than two months income for the average Iowa family."

On Sunday's GMA, John Berman asserted, "But that $10,000 bet from a multimillionaire? Twitter nearly exploded. Thousands of tweets. It's three months' pay for the average American."

On Monday's Today, Matt Lauer dubbed Romney "the gambler" and wondered, "Does it show he's out of touch with the average American?"

The NBC anchor piled on, "His detractors say it proves the millionaire businessman can't relate to average Americans."

CBS's Early Show provided some balance. Co-host Erica Hill did exclaim that the bet was "really backfiring big-time" and correspondent Jan Crawford also insisted, it was "the biggest faux pas of the debate."

However, she then put it in perspective: "I don't think it's going to make much difference at all. I mean, they know Romney is a rich guy. They know he made a tot of money before he went into public service. This is going to come as no surprise to him."

A transcript of the December 12 GMA segment, which aired at 7:05am EST, follows:

7am tease

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning, bad bet.

MITT ROMNEY: Ten thousand bucks?

STEPHANOPOULOS: How damaging was Mitt Romney's $10,000 bet at our ABC News debate? He's shrugging off all the critics calling him out of touch. But, will this memorable moment shake up the race one more time?


STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to turn now to politics. Your voice, your vote. Coming out of our ABC debate in Iowa a new poll shows that Newt Gingrich has built up big leads, not only in Iowa, but also the key early states of Florida and South Carolina and the front-runner is the only candidate not talking about what could be the most memorable moment of the debate, Mitt Romney's $10,000 bet. ABC's Jake Tapper is in Des Moines with more on the fallout for Romney. Good morning, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER: Good morning, George. Well, Democrats, Republicans and even some Romney supporters say that that joking $10,000 bet was a roll of the dice that came up snake eyes.

ROMNEY: 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?

TAPPER: The notion that his attempt to wager $10,000 with Rick Perry was not the best idea he ever had was first shared with Mitt Romney by his wife.

ROMNEY: Actually, after the debate was over, Ann came up and gave me a kiss and said I was great, and she said, a lot of things you do well, betting isn't one of them.

TAPPER: And 12 hours after the wager, Rick Perry finally thought of a comeback.

RICK PERRY: I'm pretty sure I didn't drive by a house that anyone in Iowa would even think about [sic] that a $10,000 bet was possible. So a little out of touch with the normal iowa citizen.

TAPPER: The wager heard round the world began with Perry misquoting Romney on health care.

PERRY: But, I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts, which should be the model for the country.

ROMNEY: You know what? You've raised that before, Rick, and you're still wrong. I'll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?

TAPPER: Twitter exploded with snark. "Only thing worse for Romney there would have been if he pulled a $10,000 bill from his pocket," read one tweet. After all, $10,000 is more than two months income for the average Iowa family.

WOMAN: It just rubbed me the wrong way. Was a little bit out of touch.

TAPPER: Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is all in. Doubling down on his comments calling the Palestinians an invented people.

NEWT GINGRICH: It's fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.

ROMNEY: We're going tell the truth, but we're not going to throw incendiary words into a place that is a boiling pot.

TAPPER: Gingrich's comments have now been condemned by an official from the Arab League and conservatives have called it needlessly provocative.

PAUL GIGOT: It was a needlessly provocative way to put it. He forgets that we're in a delicate diplomacy with the Israel [sic] and the Palestinians and this is a way to provoke them and suggest they have no right to any kind of state.

TAPPER: These debates have been very consequential for the race, George. And Saturday night's was the most watched of the campaign season. The next debate is today. Gingrich will debate Jon Huntsman in New Hampshire and then all the candidates will reunite once again Thursday night.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As I said in the intro, all the candidates except Newt Gingrich pounced on this bet yesterday. You get a sense that this is going to live on the trail today?

TAPPER: Well, it would be malpractice for Romney's opponents not to keep hammering on this. [Audio skip] -He doesn't understand the problems of average voters and that would be a big issue for Mitt Romney.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meanwhile, we saw the Democrats putting out their first ad about Newt Gingrich and President Obama was asked last night on 60 Minutes what he thought about the rise of Gingrich. Let's take a look.

BARACK OBAMA: He is good on TV, is good in debates. And, you know- but, Mitt Romney has shown himself to be somebody two is good at politics as well. He's had a lot of practice at it. You know, I think they will be going at it for quite a while.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jake, I was talking to Obama adviser David Axelrod. He thinks that that long fight will hurt Republicans.

TAPPER: It can go either way. It can make a candidate stronger. It can also bring out their vulnerabilities with Republicans attacking them. I think that's really a wash at this point. The bigger issue is Democrats still think Mitt Romney would be the stronger candidate against President Obama. Their first video after the debate, the Democrats, was attacking Newt Gingrich, but it was attacking him for being a strong conservative, helping him in the primaries, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And painting him as extreme, in their view.

— Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.