Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney dismisses the criticism of his $10,000 bet last weekend as over-the-top posturing, and says his proposed wager was a light-hearted way to make a point.
"It's a very common thing to say, 'I'll bet you a million bucks that, you know, your car is slower than mine.'" Romney told Politico. "Does that mean you're really planning on exchanging a million dollars? No. When somebody makes an outrageous charge you respond with an outrageous response."
Romney was talking about the fuss he created when, during a GOP debate last Saturday, he offered to bet Texas Gov. Rick Perry $10,000 to settle the question of whether he had ever suggested a national mandate to buy health insurance.
Since then, the Democratic National Committee has tried to pillory Romney, a wealthy former businessman, for being out of touch because few Americans have that kind of money to wager. Perry has voiced similar criticism.
Romney also told Politico, a political web site, that his struggle with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination might not be decided until the California primary on June 5.
Asked whether Gingrich is now the front runner, Romney said, "He is right now." Gingrich has surged to the top of the polls of GOP presidential preference in the past few weeks.