Newt Gingrich came under fire in a debate yesterday as the front-runner in the Republican presidential race, while top rival Mitt Romney opened himself to attacks of being out of touch with ordinary Americans by offering a $10,000 wager onstage.

Gingrich, whose temperament for the presidency has been questioned by his opponents, mostly maintained a cool demeanor in fielding criticisms focused on his record. Romney found himself immediately mocked after he denied an assertion by Texas Governor Rick Perry that he had supported broadly requiring individuals to have health insurance.