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. Stefan

    This not only disqualifies him from the SC election, it is a Federal Crime to give any monies to voters. This was probably staged anyway. People believe anything.

    January 15, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  2. Fabian

    Whether it was good natured or not, it is now a political move and it looks fake. I'm just sayin.

    January 15, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  3. ashley kilhgore

    That was a good gesture? For a family in need, just stick to the the election issues. We don't need voters throwing negative mud.......

    January 15, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  4. Manuel J.

    I'm not a Romney fan but I have a question. How many of you have given your time, treasure, or talent to help the unfortunate?

    For crying out loud, the woman asked for some help. If he had given $12,000, which is the maximum allowed without causing the recipient a tax liability, you would still be railing on Romney.

    January 15, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  5. Brian Hartman

    1) If he hadn't given her any money, the same people criticizing him now would be criticizing him for being heartless.

    2) He gave money to one person, in public. If I had any criticism of it, I'd call it a PR stunt. No one buys votes in public, from one voter only.

    January 15, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  6. Ron

    He must've been buying her business for pennies on the dollar...

    January 15, 2012 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  7. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So he is in reality a Socialist, spreading the wealth around?

    January 15, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  8. Anonymous

    I wonder what I could get for my vote?

    January 15, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  9. attorneymom

    Wow – what a bunch of negativity in the comments. Sounds like on the spot, he wanted to give the lady what he could at the time. I respect Romney for what he did.

    January 15, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. diridi

    shame on him to buy votes in like this just like Third World. Is he making this as another Third World? Yes. Arrest for Buying votes....

    January 15, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. Sydney

    It is good to help people in need,but it is vote buying

    January 15, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  12. Pam

    We had "Joe the Plumber" in we have "Ruth the Panhandler" for 2012 !!

    January 15, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  13. Belingo

    I guess there's no need to point out that under a better healthcare system, this woman would either not be poor or a lot less poor. Also, the GOP is opposing the very financial regulation that could prevent a new 2008-like financial crisis that cost her her job. And so on...

    But hey, if you just buy those criticisms away, why not go for it? Enough voters are probably going to buy into the idea that Romney actually cares about that woman, or other people who are struggling.

    January 15, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  14. Willyd

    I am willing to accept this as a simple act of charity. But first, I need to know what Romney's history of charitable work is. So far, I have heard nothing on the subject, until this article. Call me an optimistic skeptic.

    January 15, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. William dodge

    Give her a job ,and then you wander why
    was she there when she has a sick son at home.( politocal stunt )

    January 15, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  16. A real American

    Wow, first TBOW tanks and then Robotny ranks. This god stuff is too confusing. Dear conservative puppets, do you believe now? Isn't Robotny the coolest ? After crap like this, there is little wonder why our once great country is falling apart. This is all brought to you by the hypocisy, greed, and avarice of our self righteous fellow countrymen. Their demigod, Ronnie Regan, set us on a path of ignorance, led by arrogance. In the meantime, the real power brokers are well on their way to finalizing the New World Order. They would have done much better telling this woman to "get a job" like they tell the rest of us.

    January 15, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  17. Marie MD

    Goodness gracious alive, he gave $50 to a needy person. This is, that we know of, the second time he gives or tries to give money to somebody who supports him. First it was the kid who gave his one and only dollar to his campaign and when the @250M flip flopper went to give it back he only had $100 bills. I take it that he now has change so he doesn't have to remind us of how freakin' rich he is.

    January 15, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  18. Mike Sk

    So much for pulling yourself up by your bootstraps huh?? I wonder the names President Obama would of been called by the GOP if he had done the same thing???

    January 15, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  19. Freedomhawk

    Awww shucks! What a guy! Now where is the neocon peanut gallery cheering for this woman's son's death? Aren't we as a society supposed to let him die in the gutter to the cheers of compassionate conservative Christians? Isn't that what Jesus would do (according to neocons that is)? Romney is playing to the Neocon crowd, but bottom line, Romney is a member of the Romney party. Romney is a cult of personality, enamored with his own reflection, his own biggest fan and he is running for POTUS not because he wants to "help" America, but because he wants to put a I WAS A POTUS trophy on his mantle. Imagine if America loved Romney half as much as he loved himself, he would garner 190% of the votes, dead people would rise from the grave and vote for Romney, fetuses would crawl out of wombs and vote for Romney. I have never seen as much flip-flopping as Romney has done, anywhere, yet the party who supposedly despises flip flopping is begrudgingly, and mostly silently, backing Romney. The only person running for POTUS who is not doing it for ego reasons is Ron Paul, one of the few honest politicians left in America. "But he's nuts, Rush said so!" yep, any politician who is honest must be nuts, Paul and Kucinich included.

    January 15, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  20. fo

    this is funny! she is a smart woman and she knows that her vote is worth more than billions...........60 box...........i make 7.25/hr but i give people real good money............i can do is from the heart.

    January 15, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  21. D Williams

    So rather than help her find a job with all the contacts he surely has, Mitt gives her half a Franklin.
    And this is different from welfare HOW?

    Personally I pay a LOT more attention to what people DO rather than what they SAY.

    January 15, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. average joe

    What's next? candies to those craying loosers???

    January 15, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  23. joey

    Did he hand it to her with the secret mormon handshake? google mormon secet beliefs or go to utube and see what really goes on inside the mormon cult.

    January 15, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  24. Alex

    I wonder how much his campaign REALLY paid her. How convenient that god told her to go to the guy that evangelicals won't support because he's not a real Christian. AND how incredibly convenient that she provided an opportunity for him to look charitable when he has made it clear that he is completely out of touch with the poor and middle class and only interested in the well-being of the wealthy. Seriously, isn't it illegal for candidates to give out money to potential voters?

    January 15, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  25. Joaquin

    This sounds like propaganda to me. The new wave of false advertising.

    January 15, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
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