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Political Column: $10,000 Mistake

Daniel Caccavale

We are now almost half way through December 2011 and January 2012 is right around the corner, which of course means the election is even closer than we all think. The lead up to the Republican primary is in full swing, getting very intense, and the candidates are acting like children. Don’t you just love this time of the year?

In a recent debate in Iowa, a mini side-discussion occurred on stage between candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, names we are beginning to become accustomed to hearing in connection with political mistakes. Perry questioned where Romney stood on a particular healthcare matter, and Romney told Perry he was wrong but instead of ending it, Romney did something that, in all likelihood, has rarely if ever, happened during a political election. Romney offered Perry a $10,000 bet to prove him wrong. Perry wisely did not accept, but the fact is Romney still had the guts to turn a political debate into a gambling session.

Of course there is the chance it was a joke bet, we all do that at some point, but what if it wasn’t? Let’s not kid ourselves, both candidates have enough money in their bank accounts and would have no problem coming up with the money to cover the bet. But it is the lack of professionalism involved in the matter that is of concern. Who wants a president who makes a random bet, joke or not, with another political figure just for calling his views into question.

Let’s focus on Rick Perry for just a second. He is a candidate who doesn’t need any more political mistakes during this election. He has already been known as the candidate who can’t remember his own policies, and is now one of the most hated people on YouTube. His anti-gay video had now received over 300,000 dislikes in just under 750,000 views. To put this in perspective, it crushes the older record of dislikes set by Rebecca Black for her ‘Friday’ music video, which received over 10,000,000 views and only just over 250,000 dislikes. At this point in his campaign, Perry isn’t in a position to question anything. He needs to just sit back, answer the questions he is asked, and hope for the best.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a different story. He has been the front runner in the campaign for quite some time now. This event will probably change that. It is fairly upsetting to think that people who hope to be the next president of the United States of America can just make bets with one another, joke or not. While it could have been a joke, Romney seemed fairly serious in his offer, and even extended his hand to shake on the bet. He did so with a smile on his face that seemed like he knew he caught Perry in yet another embarrassing moment. I, however, think the joke is on him. In an economic crisis, the only time the people want to hear a candidate throwing that kind of money around is if he is donating it to the debt crisis.

Yet another mistake made by a Republican candidate as we get yet another week closer to the primary. At this point it is anyone’s guess as to who will really take the primary, but if all of them keep messing up, I think it is clear who will win in 2012. So to all the Republican candidates out there, here is a bit of advice. Focus on the people and the election, not on humiliating yourselves or your competition. It will only hurt you in the end.

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