Fox Deflects Criticism From Romney Following $10,000 Bet

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

Fox hosts are rallying to Mitt Romney's side following his $10,000 bet to Gov. Rick Perry during a recent GOP primary debate. This is the latest example of Fox hosts defending the wealthy; they previously derided efforts to increase taxes on the rich, while supporting proposals that would increase taxes on the poor.

Romney Challenged Perry With $10,000 Bet ...

Politico: Romney's Bet "Gave His Opponents A Perfect New Way To Cast Him As An Out-Of-Touch Rich Guy." Politico reported:

If Mitt Romney had said $10 or a $1 million, the line might have flown right by, but offering Rick Perry a $10,000 bet on stage at Saturday night's debate gave his opponents a perfect new way to cast him as an out-of-touch rich guy.

There wasn't much interest in the fact that Romney would probably have won the money from Perry on the dispute over whether Romney ever expressed support for a national individual mandate for health insurance like the one included in the Massachusetts health care plan Romney championed.

The focus was on the sum, and the avenue it gave both Romney's Republican rivals and Democrats into what's one of his main vulnerabilities: He grew up rich and got richer, often at the expense of closing down businesses through his work at Bain Capital. [Politico, 12/11/11]

... And Fox Rushed To His Defense

Fox's Cavuto To Romney: Don't Be "Embarrassed" By Bet. Discussing the bet, Fox host Neil Cavuto noted that Romney was now trying to "downplay" it and said: "I don't know what was so bad here. What am I missing?" Addressing Romney later in the show, Cavuto said:

CAVUTO: You have a hard time embracing something that I think is a selling point if you handle it right: You're rich. I say embrace it, Governor. Don't feel embarrassed about that $10,000 bet thing. Brag about the fact that you have got 10,000 bucks just to throw away on a bet. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 12/12/11]

Bill O'Reilly: The Bet Is "No Big Deal," "I Do This All The Time On The Factor." Discussing Romney's bet with Fox News contributor Brit Hume, Bill O'Reilly called the bet "no big deal," and said, "I do this all the time on the Factor." He later claimed that the controversy behind the bet was a "media-concocted thing":

O'REILLY: OK, now Romney -- the headline was -- and you've got to explain this to me, because I do this all the time on the Factor. Romney is going to vote -- going to bet Rick Perry -- because Rick Perry, his whole campaign has given Romney jazz now. He just gives Romney jazz every time you turn around.

So Perry basically brought up again that in Romney's books there is a difference between the health care in the hard back, and the health care in the paperback. And Romney says look, I'll bet you $10,000 there isn't. And Perry did not take the bet. To me --

HUME: Right.

O'REILLY: -- that's no big deal but apparently that wasn't good.

HUME: Well, here is the problem with that. The debate was on a Saturday night. And if you saw the whole thing in context, it probably didn't strike you that much. But, it made headlines. And the headlines and the sound bites, I think, are what a great many people probably saw out of this debate particularly nationally. I mean, people don't sit around on Saturday nights -- except people like you and me.

O'REILLY: No, I know but what's wrong with him betting -- if he believes that he's right.

HUME: Because it was a large sum of money that it suggested he has handy in the way that most ordinary people --

O'REILLY: But he does, everybody know he's a gazillionaire.

HUME: I understand that, I'm just saying that the critic critique of him has been, Bill, that he's out of touch.

O'REILLY: I don't know.

HUME: Right? That he doesn't identify with regular people. And the guy who's got -- look, I don't buy this particularly myself.

O'REILLY: Yeah.

HUME: I'm just saying that I think that this is how it played and it played rather badly for Romney. It made him look like he was --

O'REILLY: I don't know. I think that's a media -- I don't think the folks care one whit. I think that's a media-concocted thing. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/12/11]

Hannity Called Controversy Behind Romney Bet "Ridiculous." Talking about the debate, Sean Hannity said: "In all seriousness, I was watching this -- I didn't even take note of it. They were both smiling. It was a fun moment, light-hearted moment. And then I'm watching the spin right after the debate -- that was the biggest gaffe in the world. I'm like, oh, that's -- this is ridiculous." [Fox News, Hannity, 12/12/11]

Fox's Asman: People Should Be "Celebrating The Top 1 Percent." Addressing the controversy, Fox Business host David Asman suggested that people should be "celebrating the top 1 percent instead of denigrating them." [Fox Business, Power and Money, 12/12/11]

Fox Has A History Of Defending The Wealthy While Attacking The Poor

Fox Attacked Proposals To Tax Wealthy While Supporting Proposals To Raise Taxes On Poor. In October, Fox personalities attacked a proposal for a surtax on millionaires as "class warfare" after they had earlier supported a Republican presidential candidate's tax proposal that would have raised taxes on the poor. [Media Matters, 10/6/11]

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, Neil Cavuto, David Asman
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity
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