What we’re watching: Mon., Dec. 12, 2011

Updated
 

Mitt Romney today dismissed his offer to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry as merely “an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge” – namely, Perry’s claim that Romney made changes to parts of his book.

Romney told Fox News he made the bet offer in the weekend GOP presidential debate because of Perry’s erroneous claim that he deleted parts of his book, “No Apology,” that referred to Romney’s support for a health care mandate. Romney said his bet offer was simply meaningless hyperbole.

The bet sparked charges that Romney, a wealthy businessman, is out of step with economic challenges facing ordinary Americans.

Romney also aggressively criticized rival Newt Gingrich, calling on him to return the estimated $1.6 million he received for providing strategic advice to Freddie Mac, the quasi-government agency that guarantees home mortgages.

“One of the things that I think people recognize in Washington is that people go there to serve the people and then they stay there to serve themselves,” Romney told Fox News Channel.

Gingrich was equally aggressive in his response, “If Gov. Romney would give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over the years at Bain, then I would be glad to listen to him,” he told reporters. “But I bet you $10, not $10,000, that he won’t take the offer.” 

Meantime, President Obama said he thinks an 8 percent unemployment rate is possible by the time the 2012 elections roll around.

Last month, the national unemployment rate fell slightly, to 8.6%, after having been stuck between 9.0 and 9.2 from April through October, labor officials said.

Still, Obama told 60 Minutes last night he didn’t overpromise results or underestimate how tough it would be to lead the nation into a more robust economic period, calling the challenge a “long-term project” and could take beyond his time in the presidency.

 

What we're watching: Mon., Dec. 12, 2011

Updated