A year of oops: five big political gaffes of 2011

There’s nothing like a presidential campaign cycle to bring out big political gaffes. 2011 had some doozies, and some of the most memorable actually weren’t on the campaign trail.

4. Mitt Romney’s hefty bet

Julio Cortez/AP
A plane with a banner flies over the Hudson River with New York City's financial district Dec. 14. The banner reads "bet you 10K Romney's out of touch", referring to Mitt Romney’s offer to bet $10,000 during a recent Republican Presidential debate.

“Rick, I’ll tell you what – 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet,” GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said to Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a Dec. 10 presidential debate. Mr. Romney was arguing that he most surely hadn’t supported an individual mandate as part of national health-care reform – and in the process he wagered enough money to buy a solid gold iPhone case.

To most Americans, 10 grand is not chump change, which meant that everyone from the Democratic National Committee to Newt Gingrich painted the admittedly wealthy Romney as impossibly out of touch. While Romney’s wife chided him that he never was a good gambler, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) defended the former Massachusetts governor. He said Romney’s choice of $10,000 probably didn’t have to do with Romney’s perception of the worth of a dollar, but “how sure” he was that, “Rick ... you’re lying.”

Fortunately for Romney, out-of-touchness is not an automatic disqualifier for a White House gig, as he continued along as a front-running candidate.

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