The first half of tonight's debate was feisty and crazy. The second half was not. Perry was all but drooling on himself; Bachmann started pushing an adapted version of Herman Cain's 999 plan, which she calls the "win-win-win" plan; Ron Paul sounded kinda reasonable occasionally; Rick Santorum reminisced about a time when most Americans didn't know his name; and Newt Gingrich told us how great bestselling author Newt Gingrich is, when he wasn't stumping for mining camps on the moon (seriously). But the thing everyone's talking about is this moment, when Mitt Romney casually tries to bet Rick Perry $10,000 the way most folks would say "I'll bet you $20." Here's the video:
This is not the dumbest thing Mitt Romney's ever said. It's not even the most outrageous thing he said at the debate tonight. But it could be the most damaging 35 seconds of his entire political career. Americans don't mind if their presidential candidates are filthy rich, but they sure don't like to be reminded that their presidential candidates are filthy rich. Romney's gonna have to have a whole lot of great days between now and January 3rd to make people forget about this.
(The median household income figure cited in the headline of this post is from 2009, as reported by the U.S. Census.)