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. Allen

    Ok libs, ask yourself how you would feel about the Obamessiah doing this in an election season, then wonder why you feel differently about Romney doing it.

    January 15, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  2. p zombie

    Make sure you do it while everyones looking and you're on camera mitt! Setup to make you look good?

    January 15, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  3. Anonymous

    What a bunch of malarkey.

    January 15, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  4. Bob Ramos

    Every now and then, despite his public statements, Romney does something decent. Let's give credit where credit is due. He did a decent thing in helping this lady.

    January 15, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  5. jimi

    Lets take religion out of politics and elimanate another crutch!

    January 15, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  6. skytag

    The right will crucify him for this. They believe people who are unemployed and poor are just lazy bums you shouldn't encourage with handouts. What was Romney thinking?

    January 15, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  7. omegarising

    Hey moderator that will be reading this comment, how does it feel to work for a company that is part of the global elite, "enslave the people" project? You do realize that you are part of that "enslavement" don't you??

    January 15, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  8. skytag

    Is Romney willing to give $50 to every unemployed person in America?

    January 15, 2012 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  9. PJ

    He is so used to buying votes, I'm sure it came natural. I do remember him saying no to a homeless man in Boston who asked for a dollar. Mittens opened his wallet and said "sorry I only have 20s". Fortunately Fox News was present and got it on the news. This was while he was Governor and it was Christmas time. He was spreading cheer near the State House.

    January 15, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  10. Patricksday

    Nice of him to give his chump change to the needy lady, the Robot is pretending to have a Heart.

    January 15, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  11. yes

    If Obama did this it would be seen as a total class A move. But because its Romney all the CNN libbys will jump on him. Sick.

    January 15, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  12. Jeff

    It's not buying votes unless it takes care of all her "Bills" If he were to put $50,000 into a Salvation Army Kettle bucket is he buying votes from the Salvation Army organization? If he gave $50 or 60 to every person whose's hand he shook it's buying votes. This is just what it is... Generosity, More people that have the means should do this.

    January 15, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  13. iklindo

    wow... so the political system is so bad and corrupt that even CNN doesn't call attention to the fact that Romney just paid for a vote. Ethics are a thing of the past people, even the media is beyond repair.

    January 15, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  14. cc

    it shows compassion. it shows he is a george bailey from it's a wonderful life reaching out to someone in need. anyone in their right loving mind would do the same. candidate or not. goes to show that many still follow the spirit and have good will towards their fellow man. too bad others just choose to criticize cuz they can't tolerate that a 'mormon' heaven forbid could do such a christian thing.. . well, it's because they ARE christian. good for romney, he's continuing to prove he's not only the man with a heart but truly a leader whom we need in our white house.

    January 15, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  15. David Edwards

    I thought because he speaks French, the tea party and evangelical right think he is not American enough to be POTUS? And now that he gave out money to the poor it shows a sign of what he is going to do with the Tax Payers money once he gets in office....

    January 15, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  16. skytag

    @rufus: "Personal giving is always superior to an act of government."

    While it may be superior it can't replace government. First, it won't come near meeting the need.

    Second, if we were to rely solely on personal giving there would be significant variation in the help the needy get. Romney helped one woman who was able to present herself to him. Most needy people won't have the opportunity to plead their cases to a rich person. People asking for help are normally called beggars or panhandlers.

    Furthermore, help would go to the people the well off like and whose approval they have. If you're the wrong religion, wear the wrong clothes, have the wrong political beliefs, aren't the right race, or otherwise aren't deemed worthy by those who decide to help then you're out of luck. That would create serious problems.

    Think of what it would mean in health care. It would mean the medical care poor people need to live long and productive lives would be subject to the whims of the wealthy. Terrible idea unless you like the idea of political or violent revolts.

    January 15, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  17. AtheistHuman

    Hey... he get my vote for $5000 cash. ; )

    January 15, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  18. Name J.

    While I strongly disagree with the majority of Mitt Romney's political/policy positions, I believe that this is than more likely just a genuine act of basic human kindness that has become an awkward P. R. "event". Everything that politicians do is not pre-thought out from a political perspective; just ask former Congressman Weiner.

    January 15, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  19. bob Nuzie

    Anyone who says this is buying votes is rediculous. What would you do? Let another human being suffer. I can't understand partisan politics. Anyone who halps another human being who is truly in need deserves a small amount of respect and not a commentary on CNN. Good luck all of you who call this vote buying. Again what would ANYONE else do...ignore this persons problem.

    January 15, 2012 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  20. carolina rivera

    What an ego driving act. This guy would continue to rob the poor to pay the rich and she thinks it was an
    act of God? Poor desperate woman. If she votes for him she will never be able to pay her bills.

    January 15, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  21. omegarising

    Any very little respect I may have had for this creature, just went right down the crapper!

    January 15, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  22. SSE

    Give a man a fish (or $60) and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish (or give him skills and job opportunities) and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Sometimes, we as a society need to support those who are in tight positions due to illness, bad luck or even simply a lifetime of bad decisions. It is what good neighbors do. They do not abandon members of their communities to drown. But such a function should be structural, through action from the government and society supported by tax dollars. This act by Romney was not helpful, it was insulting and a disgusting publicity stunt. Rom should simply have put his team in touch with the woman and assessed her situation to solve it for the long term. Thanks to that $60, the woman will get her lights on for two more weeks, but when February comes, she will be in the same position. I wonder how in the world anyone fails to see that this is a slimy political stunt.

    January 15, 2012 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  23. timbo

    Why didn't he just tell her to pull herself up by her bootstraps, or that it's her own fault that she's poor, some of that usual bull his party is known for?

    January 15, 2012 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  24. Tiffany

    Awww, how cute. That would be like me giving my spare change to someone. This is disgusting. That money probably did little for the woman and Romney didn't feel it in the pocketbook. This is not what people want, people want the system to CHANGE.

    January 15, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  25. hmmmmm...

    how nice of him, im sure she will remember this day when she doesnt recieve her welfare check on time. or that she just wasted so much time volunteering for a campaign that couldnt hurt her more. I think its hilarious when lower class citizens volunteer for GOP campaigns, its like cutting down a tree for your own coffin

    January 15, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
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