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. Smoke N Mirrors

    Mitt just gave up his shoe shine money.
    Nice stunt.

    January 15, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  2. Marlee

    God bless you Mitt Romney.

    January 15, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  3. Chris

    At least he's not using MY money to buy votes... Obama you fail.

    January 15, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  4. Sam

    I disagree with those of you who call this "vote buying." Come on, let's not be cynical to THAT extent. This was just a publicity stunt. Plus, isn't this a 100 per cent GOVERNMENT HANDOUT, something the GOPers are ranting against? Wasn't this woman supposed to pull herself out of this by bootstraps?

    January 15, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  5. Marilyn

    Oh Please! "Christian Charity" Is Supposed to Be "Anonymous"! THIS was/is Nothing but a PR Stunt. Besides that, IF this woman is getting any type of state/federal aid, she's just lost benefits for next month if she is a True & Honest "Christian" & reports the gift/income.
    To Phil: I'm sorry, but God Absolutely answers prayers! Center your life around Him, following His Commands, and you'll probably be astounded at how Wonderful & Loving He Is!
    Peace & Love to All!

    January 15, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  6. Realty Check

    For everyone praising Romney's actions, what if it had been President Obama at a campaign stop handing out his own money directly to potential voters? No off-topic rants about nanny states and taxes and blah, blah, blah. What if it was Obama handing out his own money directly to potential voters? You're blood would itch you would be exploding on your keyboard so fast..

    January 15, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  7. cici

    sixty out of billions?..this guy is an idiot

    January 15, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  8. Bernard Webb

    How does this guy manage to make what should be an act of kindness come across as patronizing condescension? People low on resources don't want to be handed table scraps by a super-rich guy in public. Does Romney have any human emotions at all or is he some kind of machine?

    January 15, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  9. George

    That was a nice gesture but will never be good enough for some of these left wing nut jobs... it's never good enough until we take EVERYTHING that "the man" has earned and they get to take it... kinda like what happened in Cuba and Venezuela. Get over it, that man made helped the lady out directly.

    January 15, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  10. mb2010a

    Wow, a candidate actually giving out money to the needy, how refreshing. I just can't believe it was a Republican that did it.

    January 15, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  11. bear

    The lady more than likely reeived more at the rehearsal for this pathetic stunt.

    January 15, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  12. TDoe

    What a real joke this ignorant Mitt Romney is! Trying to do anything so he won't appear to be what we already know he is....A real corporate greedy scuzz ball! What a insult to give someone only $60, like that's something substantial. That will go in one hour! He is truly Not in touch with the Middle and lower class.

    January 15, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  13. your comment is awaiting moderation

    he paid the illegal aliens that worked on his mansion more a hour.

    January 15, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  14. ggvt

    hey, it was a nice gesture, might even help her out a bit – as for people saying "buying a vote", well maybe, but technically no.. he did not exact a promise from her vote as part of the giving of the money... heck, Uncle Sam has been giving away billions to rich corporations for decades....

    January 15, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  15. drummer

    my jaw dropped when I read this – doesn't he get it? What is he going to do, hand out wads of pocket change to every person that is hurting. He plays the blame game & speaks in broad generalities about how he is going to solve our contry's problems, He claims because he bought & sold companies he is qualidfied to run our country. (huh?) These buyouts are killing this country – buy – downsize – merge – look for anyway to save money and squeeze the assets – starting with firing people. He makes a $10,000 bet on national tv, he won't release his pers. tax records...he is loaded courtesy of downsizing & buyouts. I wonder if I can get him to send me $50...$500?

    January 15, 2012 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  16. Devon

    If anyone doubted that Romney is Pro Big Government in terms of handing out money instead of promoting jobs and independence, this should clear up any confusion or mixed signals. It's become clear that the only viable candidate at this point is Ron Paul – and I never thought that I'd be saying that.

    January 15, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  17. sameeker

    I thought repugs didn't like handouts. Why didn't he at least offer her a job working for his campaign?

    January 15, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  18. Morgana

    Well I just had to chime in since someone was dumb enough to call a personal gift an act of socialism. Everybody just stop where you are and look the word up. Seems to be an incredible array of definitions amongst the public. Just stop and take the time to learn about it, its been a couple of years now the word has been getting continuously warped. Educate yourselves.

    January 15, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  19. Todd Pitner

    Good Lord! That was a demonstration of kindness, not vote-buying. The cynical bile in this thread testifies that some CNN readers can't swim past the shallow end. I'm not a Romney fan, but when someone assists another in need "from the heart". I'm happy to defend their charity.

    January 15, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  20. dt

    What a tool. He found out a campaign worker was struggling financially – and he throws her a tip several days later for the press. This guy is so far out of touch I wonder if he is human. How about arranging a confidential collection among co-workers, or a private food drive?

    January 15, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  21. N Robinson

    Honestly handing someone $50 or $60when they have expressed their hardship to you can be sort of an insult, Romney just hope this wasnt some game you are playing.

    January 15, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  22. willie floyd

    Could have appreciated it more had he done it in private without the photo-op.

    January 15, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  23. Carmen

    Seriously? Who from his campaign leaked this story? Or did reporters catch this woman running up and down the street screaming, "I got $60 ...Mitt Romney's team gave me $60 to pay my light bill...praise Jesus!" It's shameful that he and the like prey upon the weak.
    The Word says, “…so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (NIV). Anyone who boasts of their giving is not doing it for the glory of God but for the glory of man. Yucky politician.

    January 15, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  24. Voters

    Its not buying votes when you give 1 person some money to take care of his/her need. We should all do that kind of charity to avoid government dependence.

    January 15, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  25. Flint Rock

    Mitt must be the man – a philanthropist and a job creator!

    January 15, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
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