Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rick Perry Would Have Lost Mitt Romney's $10,000 Bet

Much is being made of Mitt Romney's $10,000 bet on last night's Iowa Republican debate. Many people are focusing on the amount Romney put up for the bet and blasting him for being wealthy enough to put up that kind of money while others are criticizing him for making a childish bet. 
The point of the bet was to prove that Rick Perry was being dishonest in his false claim that there are with differences between hardcover and paperback editions of Romney's book regarding Mitt's position about his own health health care plan. Had Rick Perry accepted that bet, he would have lost. 
The Washington Post fact checked Perry's claim and found that Rick Perry would have lost that bet:
This is when Romney offered to make a $10,000 bet and Perry declined to take it. Smart man, because he would have lost the money.
We explored this issue before when Perry made this claim in a television ad, giving Perry Three Pinocchios. And here is a PDF of the paperback edition showing the pages in question.
Perry is making a phony claim.
It is clear that the hardcover edition was written when Obama’s health-care plan was still a work in progress. For instance, Romney spends some time denouncing the idea of a public option as “government-supplied insurance.” The paperback was published after the health-care law was passed, so the paragraphs on the public option — which had been abandoned by Obama — are dropped.
Romney also must have sensed that GOP anger at Obama’s health-care law might make his own signature legislative achievement less attractive to Republican voters, so he added a few paragraphs emphasizing how the Democratic governor who followed him made changes in the law that he did not approve of. But otherwise the changes are minimal — the standard updating that takes place in paperback nonfiction books.
The non-partisan website says Rick Perry's claim is mostly false:
Perry's grievance is with differences between hardcover and paperback editions of Romney's book. We've combed through Chapter 7 of both.

Romney's changes to the book have been explored before, by Boston political journalist David S. Bernstein. He noted in February 2011 that Romney had added harsher language on the national health care law as passed: "Obamacare will not work and should be repealed," and, "Obamacare is an unconstitutional federal incursion into the rights of states."

Romney more clearly explained ways that he disagreed with implementation of the Massachusetts law.

He also changed this line, which came after a paragraph touting the success of the Massachusetts health plan:

Hardcover: "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care."


Paperback: "And it was done without government taking over health care."

The deleted 11 words, "We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country" are the crux of Perry's argument. His campaign sent e-mail the day after the debate with a link highlighting precisely that change.

It looks suspicious, right? Perhaps Romney did extol every piece of his Massachusetts plan, individual mandate and all, for every state in the union.

But here's the original quote with full context from Page 177 of the hardcover
"My own preference would be to let each state fashion its own program to meet the distinct needs of its citizens. States could follow the Massachusetts model of they choose, or they could develop plans of their own. These plans, tested in the state 'laboratories of democracy' could be evaluated, compared, improved upon, and adopted by others. But the creation of a national plan is the direction in which Washington is currently moving. If a national approach is ultimately adopted, we should permit individuals to purchase insurance from companies in other states in order to expand choice and competition.

"What we accomplished surprised us: 440,000 people who previously had no health insurance became insured, many paying their own way. We made it possible for each newly insured person to have better care, and ultimately healthier and longer lives. From now on, no one in Massachusetts has to worry about losing his or her health insurance if there is a job change or a loss in income; everyone is insured and pays only what he or she can afford. It's portable, affordable health insurance — something people have been talking about for decades. We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care."
Romney's not really saying the Massachusetts law "should be the model for the country," the way that Perry describes it. He's in fact presenting a defense of state-level choice. It's like a shout-out to other state leaders: Hey, you can have what Massachusetts has!

And it's consistent with what Romney fired back at Perry in the Sept. 22, 2011 debate: "This is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan." And with how he characterized his own book in the most recent debate: "I say, in my view, each state should be able to fashion their own program for the specific needs of their distinct citizens."
Romney did support Massachusetts' individual mandate. But we don't see evidence in his hardcover book that he supported a federal one, much less that he removed such a reference from later editions.
Other news outlets have fact checked Perry's claim and have found that Rick Perry would have lost that bet. However, too many people are focusing on Romney's bet rather than on the fact that Rick Perry has repeatedly made a claim that can be factually to be proven false. The good news is that despite the fact that Rick Perry declined to take that bet, he lost in that exchange because he keeps pushing a claim against Romney that has been debunked before. Rick Perry doesn't care about the truth, he only wants to hurt Mitt Romney. 
This plan will backfire on Rick Perry because voters care more about the truth rather than scoring political points or scaring voters into not voting for that candidate.


  1. Mitt should change the 10.000$ bet to a 10.000$ donation for cancer research and he'll be redeemed from that slip

    What do you think?