Debate Analysis: Mitt Romney's Big Bet

ABC News correspondents Jake Tapper, Jonathan Karl, and John Berman.
10:40 | 12/11/11

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Transcript for Debate Analysis: Mitt Romney's Big Bet
Even as the candidates spot on stage at last night's debate social media was exploding with -- real time reaction. To take the pulse of the -- of us we teamed up with -- labs the social TV analytics company based in Cambridge Massachusetts. They spend the night combing twitch and here's what they found. These animations powered by bluefin labs. Look at all the tweets about the ABC news debate. Some 236000. Of them. So which candidate got the most mentions Mitt Romney with 25%. And it was not -- brought on by this moment watch you know. I'm this saying -- for individual -- my friend. You know what you -- that before Rick and you're sitting on it was true then got out and that is -- now pick up a table right to cut 101000 bucks. 101000 dollar back. I'm not in -- business. That moment triggered a tweet frenzy. This Graf shows the volume of debate common tree on twitch you can see the spike in -- when Romney made that -- The fix commented quote I bet you 101000 Romney would like to take back that line right about now. And you can see how that was -- tweeted far and wide. And so that's how the -- -- reverberated on line but how did it play in the debate hole and more importantly how will it play on the campaign trail. I want to bring in ABC team in Des Moines chief White House correspondent Jake top up. Senior political correspondent Jon Karl and the intrepid Jon -- -- -- huge John Berman first. I'd bet that is the moment that Mitt Romney and his team -- to take back I would assume how is it playing in the spin room. Well this morning the Romney campaign is is claiming to me that it wasn't a gap and they're making a two pronged response. Ought to -- the frenzy over -- -- number one. Mitt Romney was right and all the facts he probably would've won that bet Rick Perry was mis quoting Romney's comments in his book. In the second spin that the Romney campaign is giving me is that. It's only the Democrats who are making a big deal out of this 101000 dollar bet it just -- so says the Romney campaign the Democrats are obsessed with Mitt Romney to proves that Mitt Romney is the most electable candidate -- kind of very complicated jujitsu they're playing here -- -- -- -- -- tough sell -- of course. It may not be a good thing that Mitt Romney was engaging with Rick Perry in the first place there it sort of brings Mitt Romney down a little bit. So kind of it's a good thing Jake is that right is it just the Democrat's visit other Republicans who announced that it trying to capitalize on -- -- -- Too much attention is being paid to that -- comment. Well I mean probably in the scheme of in the scheme of all -- matters of import that were debated last night it probably is getting a little bit but more than its fair share of attention. But I agree with the Romney campaign's argument. That. The Democrats are most focused on him. Because they consider him to be the biggest threat to the reelection of President Obama I think. There's no question about that fact. The Democrats put out a web video today attacking Newt Gingrich. The only problem is it. Basically just call it calls Gingrich three decades of Tea Party politics it's basically. An ad that could help Gingrich and Republican primary it could have been produced by Newt Gingrich. And the argument of course is that they would rather Democrats would rather face Newt Gingrich. Then face Mitt Romney I think that that's -- salient argument. One thing about the 101000 dollar -- I should fully disclose one times. I was interviewing Chris van Holland the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Before the 2010. Elections and he said the Democrats and all the -- and I too. Offered a 101000 dollar bet to him he did not take it so I know kind of what was going through Mitt -- said I don't have the wealth that Iran has but. I would make one -- another -- couldn't well that he would but my point was I knew what was right. Put 101000 dollars on the line and I think that's right obviously so it isn't it it doesn't it. It's a rhetorical flourish so to speak in in the in the betting world and you say. Job so the the spotlight of course was on Newt Gingrich and everyone's wants to know can he keep his cool and is he going to say something strange is -- it. You know news it how did he stack up. Last night. Well the first things you didn't -- anybody 101000 dollar fine points that look at that. The thing is yeah especially after all the speeches look. I think Gingrich. You know has going for him here. Is that in the debates including last night where he was the target of of attacks he actually looked like the one that was -- -- I mean. Look Romney needs to have his boot -- -- wrote he needs to he needs to show that Gingrich. She's temperamental lead not to be president he tried -- -- that rhetorically last night but looking -- -- state. Gingrich was the study asked he was the most measured he did not look like I was about -- Christiane that the attacks that that there is a lot to attack about the Gingrich record I think even the Gingrich people would acknowledge that. But the attack that Romney leveled against him yesterday was was just really important -- done he could have gone after him. On any number policy issues including a Gingrich is -- of the of the Paul Ryan plan for Medicare but instead he just recited a litany a list. And in and Gingrich to shout them down one after the other and I think Gingrich did himself. A lot of good last night that's sad when I went back out of the car after the debate. This was on my windshield this is an attack flyer in this is an example of what Gingrich is gonna face over the next 23 days here in Iowa and a below the radar attack against everything he's ever done. But that's kind of been going on ever since he's had -- to the front runner. Positions let's -- another striking moment from the debate sort of the elephant in the room. Do you think -- candidate who breaks his marital vows is more like -- -- great faith in voters. If -- cheat on your wife if you cheat on your spouse. Then why would you cheat on your business partner or why wouldn't you know anybody for that matter I think character issues to count and I think. All all of -- all of your record. Personal as well as political record is there -- for the public to look at. I would not say to disqualify -- I wouldn't go that far I think people make mistakes and you are held accountable to this mistakes. And I think people have to render judgment. In my case I've set up front openly and I've made mistakes at times -- had to go to god for forgiveness and had to seek reconciliation. I'm also a 68 year old grandfather and I think people have to measure who I am now and whether -- person they can trust. So -- obviously. Newt Gingrich was perfect and was prepared for that do you think he's defuse the issue continue all helped me to understand. How in -- state that is socially conservative. People's thinking of running around. Candidate with these -- -- Don't. It was an uncomfortable was it uncomfortable moment when -- -- going down the line they're all talking about marital fidelity and -- when. It's all looking at Newt Gingrich and the corner -- but secretly -- -- secretly I think Newt Gingrich is thrilled. That it happened it's now been asked and answered. It -- -- response. I thought he looked dignified -- in the audience there look like she was agreeing with everything he was saying so this with a very strong moment I think for Newt Gingrich. And I think that the social conservatives here at Iowa. Who might care about it either already do care about it or they decided they just don't and they're looking at all the candidates here in making decision based on number of different things. In these debates seem to be the one thing they're looking at more than any other and Gingrich is just perform so well in them. That they might be willing to look beyond this other issue that might otherwise -- -- decision. So don't call -- The only ones that have made Gingrich -- -- island of it was wrong pulpit to view when he told them about the money Freddie -- this and that. He had a strong night on that stage he's got money he's -- new organization could any. Put off an upset -- Yes Ron Paul can we. Look Ron Paul is the campaign here in Iowa it has -- energy. -- saw him in the opening -- -- -- -- all the campaign headquarters the only -- buzzing -- activity is Ron -- and when you see the effects that are happening out here. You're not seeing crowds at Romney events are not seeing crowds that Gingrich -- yet. You are seeing huge crowds. -- Ron Paul so. I have a caucuses there's no question Ron Paul could pull. In it was a key -- spin from the Romney campaign after debate last night they went out. Out of their way to say that wrong Paul had a great night it seemed as if they're saying right now look at that's not going well for us we can't win. It better not be Newt Gingrich let's build up Ron Paul there is this there is a ceiling Christiane which is which is in the same way that Mitt Romney has a ceiling Ron Paul -- -- ceiling which is. He has a very energized roughly 20% of the Republican base. And then after that it's not just that the other 80%. Don't like him that much they disagree with Ron Paul is a purer. Consistent libertarian. But that 1% to show up -- absolutely I mean to be up lizard TV whatever whatever Palin and Romney will be driving into the hole that he has his feet and again and again according to the New York Times two thirds of those who say they go into the callebs is still say they haven't made up MI as many as -- -- about Rick Perry Michelle Bachmann. The two real social conservatives did -- Break out. -- I think they both had decent night's especially Michelle Bachmann. And this is a state -- in the past she's proven she can garner support the question for them -- over the next 23 days can they be seen. As credible. What are people gonna be saying about them if they support starts to rise if there is -- -- -- comes out that indicates either Perry -- Bachmann is rising in the polls could become a contender. I could see people are going to -- -- in droves but I could see her garnering support the support here for Gingrich at least according to that. I went with whom I've spoken they'd like him they think he's experience they like his ideas. They don't like his personal life that don't like. The baggage that -- -- that -- -- one island what did the luggage that he brings with him -- and and I think. That that that that could undercut him. Ultimately but right now he's still in a very strong as -- like luggage all right gentlemen thank you very much indeed for joining us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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