DES MOINES - It wasn't quite an "oops" moment, and the Romney campaign is insisting it wasn't a gaffe, but Mitt Romney's attempt to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry has already taken on a life of its own.
If the buzz in the press filing center, on the Internet and on Twitter and other social media platforms is any indication, Romney's going to be hearing the replay of that quip over and over again.
As ABC's Matt Negrin points out : "An analysis from our partners at Bluefin Labs shows that just under 40 minutes into the ABC News debate in Iowa, 3,400 messages on Twitter were prompted by Mitt Romney's offer to bet with Rick Perry."
The hashtag #what10Kbuys, suggested by the Democratic National Committee, is now trending on Twitter around the world.
In the post-debate spin room, Romney aides are standing by the comment: "Romney made that bet because he knew Rick Perry wouldn't take it," strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said.
And another top adviser, Stuart Stevens, called the line "a very human thing to do to get someone to shut up when they're not telling the truth"
But in the social media world, Romney's line has been the subject of criticism from pundits on the right:
@RichLowry: you can already feel the $10k bet backfiring-will be one of the replayed moments from the debate
And on the left:
And in between - this from a revered Des Moines Register columnist:
And a senior Democratic strategist offers ABC News this comment:
"Mitt Romney is going to rue the day he offered a $10,000 bet in this debate. Talk about a window in to his out-of-touch soul. And he did it in the same debate where he again called the payroll tax cut for the middle class a temporary band-aid. You just can't be more out of touch than Mitt Romney - and you can't have a less understanding of what it's like to be middle class."