DES MOINES, Iowa -- A debate argument that ended with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry if he’d take a $10,000 bet spilled over into the Sunday shows as Perry called the bet, “a little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen.”
Romney had challenged Perry to bet money after Perry claimed that the former Massachusetts governor advocated that the Massachusetts health care law become a model for a national plan, but later took the line out in his book. The line was removed from the book, but Politifiact, a fact-checking site, rate Perry’s claim “mostly false.”
Perry also focused on continuing his outreach to evangelical voters in Iowa, pledging on Fox News Sunday to “work on an amendment to allow our children to pray in school.”
The pledge is just one in a recent litany of statements intended to court the valuable voting block ahead of the Jan. 3 caucuses. Perry also released two ads last week focusing on his faith, one of which accused President Obama of declaring a war on religion.
The Texas governor also tried to downplay a recent gaffe he made during a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in which he said there were eight Supreme Court justices and couldn’t recall Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s name. The campaign later told the Register that the governor was referring to an 8-to-1 court decision about bible reading in school called Abington School District v. Schempp. Bu the admitted on Fox that he simply doesn’t know the names of all nine justices.
Perry will soon embark on a 14-day bus tour in the state, using the opportunity for “retail politics” to argue that he is the most consistent and reliably conservative candidate in the race.
To back his promise to “make Washington as inconsequential in people’s lives as possible,” Perry proposed that Congress only convene part time in the nation’s capital. “I will talk about how to make Congress a part-time body, because people think they spend too much time in Washington, and spend too much money. So we should make it a part-time legislature like they have here in Iowa,” so that politicians in Washington can “get up to less mischief.”
Other proposals Perry will be pushing on his bus tour include a constitutional amendment to allow students to openly pray in school; a reinstatement of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that kept gays from serving openly in the military; a balanced-budget amendment to the constitution; and a 20 percent flat tax.
After his appearance on the show, Perry made his way to Point of Grace Church in Waukee, IA to worship and address the congregation. In his short remarks, which drew a standing ovation, he urged the audience, as people of faith, to get involved in public life.
"Our laws and things we are engaged in in this country are going to be impacted by somebody's values, and the question is whose values," he said.
The governor also got a few laughs for his jokes. "I don't have all the answers," he told the worshipers. "Sometimes I forget the answers."
National Journal reporter James Kitfield contributed.