Romney gives cash to struggling supporter at rally
January 14th, 2012
07:36 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney gives cash to struggling supporter at rally

Sumter, South Carolina (CNN) - Mitt Romney gave a handful of cash Saturday to a woman who had told him she was struggling financially after an event in Sumter, South Carolina.

An aide said the GOP candidate gave the supporter "what he had on him" - about $50 or $60.

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The woman, Ruth Williams, met Romney earlier in the week and told him she was having trouble making ends meet. On Saturday, Romney recognized Williams while he was shaking hands with supporters after a rally, an aide said.

Romney spoke to the woman and handed her several bills.

"He was kind to me," Williams said. "He held onto me and he made Gov. [Nikki] Haley and them come see about me."

Williams told reporters that on Wednesday she had seen Romney's campaign bus on the highway and followed it to an airport. Aides then invited her to come meet the former governor at an event in Columbia.

"I was on the highway praying and said, 'God, tell me how to get [my] lights on, and I pulled up to a stop sign and his bus was there,'" Williams said.

Williams has been out of work since October and is caring for an ill son. She said that after meeting Romney she had also met South Carolina state treasurer and Romney supporter Curtis Loftis, and said he had given her money. She said she used the money to pay her light bill.

A Romney campaign aide confirmed Loftis had given Williams money.

Williams has been volunteering at Romney's state headquarters in Columbia since the original meeting, she said.

"God didn't tell me to go to nobody else," she said when asked whether she had approached other presidential candidates. "He told me to pray for Romney."

The cash gift is notable from a candidate who has said he would not give away "free stuff" as president but rather would focus on cutting back on federal spending and stimulating private sector growth.

"I know there are some people who run for president that will say, 'Hey, I'm going to give you more. I'll find a way to give you some more. I'll change the rules and give you more money," Romney said at a December event in Conway, New Hampshire. "I'm not that guy. If there's a competition for who will give you the most free stuff, go vote for that guy."

Also see:

Group backing Gingrich hits Romney for health care law and Bain record

Romney gives cash to struggling supporter at rally

Romney super PAC pummels Santorum and Gingrich by mail

Tim Scott, the ultimate undecided voter

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (830 Responses)
  1. joey

    i gave a woman a handful of cash and was arrested

    January 15, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  2. Howard

    Well, that takes care of this particular woman. What about all the rest of the people who have lost their jobs in the Republican-Bush recession?
    What's wrong with charitable giving to individuals is that it leaves the larger social problems untouched.

    January 15, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  3. Eric Robinson

    A man gives money to a struggling woman, and he is insulted in the comments section of this article. Really? Why can't a simple act of charity be viewed as just that, a simple act of charity.

    January 15, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  4. DPatriot

    Set up , I feel sorry for you who actually buy this

    January 15, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. Hopper

    Great. Destroy the tax base, hollow out our economy, and devastate the middle class, and then when somebody complains about it, give them 50 bucks and tell them to shut up. Marie Antoinette would be proud.

    January 15, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  6. Sally S.

    He's a rapist!

    January 15, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  7. towkneegee

    Cudnt that be seen as a "stimulus" ?

    January 15, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  8. Bobbi Aussi

    Which of you mates that are making the complaints against Romney have given any amount of your cash to anyone? Easy to criticize, but why don't you go out and do a little bit of charity, Christian or otherwise....?

    January 15, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  9. Jeff7979

    Rachel Streitfeld – you call this unbias journalism? A kind gesture by someone turns into a political smear article... How pathetic is CNN getting??? I wonder which way this article would have been spun if Obama did this... probably something like this – "Obama keeps giving the needy."

    It's articles like this that keep CNN at the bottom of the ratings.

    January 15, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  10. i dont know

    guess he can buy his way in now so get on the line folks he is giving it away for your vote ............................

    January 15, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  11. Me

    Reminds me of that scene in Batman from 1989 in which Jack Nicholson says, "hubba, hubba, hubba, money, money, money, money...WHO DO YOU TRUST? ME?? IM GIVIN AWAY FREE MONEY!! ..and the Batman??

    January 15, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  12. Moderate Voter

    I can't believe people are criticizing Mitt for helping someone out. Obama has sent money to struggling people who have sent him a letter telling him of their challenging times and good for him. The main point here is that this is a private person helping someone out, not government taking from someone to give to another. Let private citizens help our fellow countrymen out.

    January 15, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  13. paulbjohnson

    So the man gives money to someone and everyone assumes it was for show? Why didn't the 1st time make the news then? Because it was an honest attempt to help someone. This is the way conservatism is supposed to work: no government handouts, but private citizens / charities taking the load. MItt can give his own money away all he wants, but won't take others' money to force them to do the same. That's not a handout, that's Christian charity.

    January 15, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  14. Pat in IL

    Some people are making too much of this. It proves nothing more than he is simply human who has sincere compassion.

    January 15, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  15. pepe

    What wrong with u people. Another human being helping another u make it a biggy.
    Some of our politicians are supporting this practice elsewhere where they have major interest
    Here you are polemiking on couple cents given to another poor

    January 15, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  16. Shaun

    It's fortunate that Romney is a Mormon and not a Jew, otherwise she would have received only a handshake (if that).

    January 15, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  17. gary

    There is a big difference between an citizen voluntarily giving money to charities, individuals, etc and the government redistributing its citizens wealth.

    January 15, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  18. Unknown

    Question is, would he have still done that had he NOT been running for office?

    January 15, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  19. Eric

    A whole 50 bucks? Nice! Half of that can go to buying gas.

    January 15, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  20. White Coat Investor

    Charity is giving away your own money. Liberalism is giving away someone else's. Conservatives very much believe in charity.

    January 15, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  21. fortheloveofgod

    "God didn't tell me to go to nobody else," she said when asked whether she had approached other presidential candidates. "He told me to pray for Romney."

    I guess "god" is working for the utility companies now . . . Oh, and "god" is a black female lesbian, not a "he" . . . get it right! . . . this is the biggest PR stunt to come down the pike in a long time. And gee, how generous of Romney. I'm quite sure he'll have to cut back on other expenses now to satisfy that big charity donation.

    January 15, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  22. OCCent

    There's a different between handing out your own cash (or campaign contributions) and handing taxpayer's money. Romney never said he was against charity.

    January 15, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  23. Face

    Is this what I am going to see from now on..... the poor Republican plant?

    January 15, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  24. nate

    If it was anyone but mitt, i'd have bought this story hook line and sinker.

    This is just the sort of fluff piece that gets put out to embelish the record of an obvious slimeball. I mean, comeon, love him or hate him, that iis a guy that makes slick willy himself seem down right dry.

    January 15, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  25. ditdahdit

    Now that's old-time politicking! Let's bring back the old days when candidates walked around with suitcases of cash for fence-sitting voters. It would probably take two handfuls to convince me to hop on the 'Bain Train', but i suspect he could get that back in his first ten minutes in office.

    January 15, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
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