Somach: Romney Wouldn’t Be First Gambling President

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Romney Gambling

Much fuss is being made about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's offer to bet fellow contender Rick Perry $10,000 during a live televised debate this past weekend.

Criticism is coming on multiple fronts: anyone who makes a $10K bet is so rich he's out of touch with regular people and Romney is supposedly a devout Mormon but Mormons aren't supposed to gamble so he's a big phony.

But if Romney does become President of the United States, is it a big deal that he might like to level a wager now and then?

Not if you look at history, specifically American presidential history.

The record shows that many U.S. presidents liked to gamble, and one famous pol even got his start because of gambling!

General George Washington's forces defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War, a war funded largely by Washington-approved public lotteries.

Thomas Jefferson, at his Monticello home, had a poker table he personally constructed that quickly folded up into a regular table, in case someone was coming who didn't approve.

Warren Harding held weekly poker games inside the White House and famously once lost a set of valuable White House china in a game.

Harry Truman was an avid poker player and even had his own handmade wooden poker table at his vacation retreat, the so-called Little White House in Key West, Florida, where he played regularly with Cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and other political figures.

Richard Nixon began his political career---a successful run for U.S. Congress---with a campaign financed by $3,000 in poker winnings he earned while serving in the U.S. Navy.

And of course the current U.S. president, Barack Obama, famously was part of many late-night poker sessions while a state legislator in Illinois.

So if Mitt Romney does become President of the United States, history shows no one will care if he makes a wager.

His only problem will be finding someone to bet with.

By Tom Somach Staff Writer

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