June 27th, 2012
07:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney's biggest fan gets new ride, courtesy of campaign

Sterling, Virginia (CNN) – Generally, Mitt Romney is not considered to be the kind of politician who inspires fanatical, cult-like devotion from his supporters.

But one man – Jim Wilson – proudly bucks that trend.

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Wilson, a Virginia native usually seen wearing knee-high white socks and gripping a pipe, has become an eye-popping fixture at Romney's campaign events across the country. He drives a truck plastered with Romney signs and directs traffic outside many campaign events, lending the buttoned-down politician some of the cachet that comes with a die-hard fan base.

On Wednesday, Romney returned the favor, giving his biggest fan the keys to a white Chevy Silverado.

The shiny vehicle – decorated with noticeably less exuberance than Wilson's original truck – was a gift from Romney's campaign meant to replace the truck Wilson lost recently in a fire.

That fire was first reported by The New York Times. Wilson said he had driven that truck 62,000 miles since the Iowa caucuses earlier this year.

As he exited an event in Sterling, Virginia, Romney walked by a cluster of reporters gathered outside and laughingly handed Wilson a fire extinguisher.

"Look what I got for you!" Romney cried as the men hugged. "Just in case!"

Wilson lifted the extinguisher high in the air and shouted: "That's the trophy! We're safe at last."

The two men climbed in the truck and drove several feet before stopping to have an animated conversation not audible to those outside.

Then Wilson stopped the car, got out and quipped: "Damn thing quit!"

That wasn't all the Romney fan had to say to the captive audience of reporters and photographers watching his every move.

Speaking before his meeting with Romney, Wilson brushed off concerns about his burned truck.

"The good part is, I didn't have to wash the 30 pair of underwear that were in the burned truck," he said. "And the other part was, my golf clubs were not with me."

CNN Producer Matt Hoye contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Indy

    "Cult like devotion" it would have to be to make any sense. This story is just a little bit creepy,someone has nothing better to do then follow a Presidential candidate around the country? Sounds very familiar and there is a Presidential candidate that has done nothing for the past several years but follow the President around and pretend that he can magicallly fix the economy that Republicans took to the toilet.

    June 27, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  2. Patricia

    This is a joke. Right. Millions of people are starving and by tomorrow millions more will be without health insurance. Will Romney send them money to buy food, shelter and pay for their visits to the doctor when the need arises as it surely will.
    Obama – 2012

    June 27, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  3. idiotwatchfox

    Way to stay in touch with middle class Amurika, Mitt! I know lots of middle class folks that can buy a stranger a new truck!

    June 27, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. The Film Professor

    Did he give him a pair of flip-flops to go with the new truck?

    June 27, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  5. John

    That one way to get vote Is to Buy them. But really that Mitt Romney Is what he does best. Where this guy going to end up after he done with him, China or India.

    June 27, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. chuck weidemann

    That is exactly the kind of voter Romney is after....good luck!!

    June 27, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. tony

    And you thought buying votes was illegal.

    June 27, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    The guy was riding around with 30 pair of dirty underwear?!? GROSS!!

    June 27, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  9. craig

    That's Romney...just looking out for his friends. Now, let's see if the guy reports that income on his tax statement. Or...maybe he's rich enough he doesn't have to pay taxes. Too bad Romney doesn't do anything for the rest of the Americans...the ones who don't have the option to drive around the country.

    June 27, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  10. Vincent

    Is Jim Wilson a wealthy investor ? A wealthy businessman ? A wealthy mormon ?

    June 27, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  11. C

    LOL.....sounds like a really funny nice guy!

    So glad he got a new truck, that was really kind of the Romney campaign. 🙂

    June 27, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  12. MikeB

    Should have bought him a FORD.
    The Chevy is about as reliable as the Government that manufactured it.

    June 27, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. n

    Why is this news? Again, trying to buy votes by gifting someone a car, on the condition that Romney name is plaster all over it. How Corny is this?

    June 27, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  14. caeser

    There all your's,I hope?

    June 28, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  15. georgewashington

    How touching. Now go back under your rock.

    June 28, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  16. enuff

    The campaign buys a voter a truck. Sounds funny when you say it that way. What about the other voters that have lost houses? Is Romney going to offer them a chicken in every pot per vote?

    June 28, 2012 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  17. judy

    good thing the auto industry got bailed out. :! forward 2012 Obama

    June 28, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  18. King

    youll be. surprise what you can get from a millionaire if you kiss them in the right area. what does mitten brings to the working class that makes this Guy so excited. lesson folks, this is the new world order materializing in front your very eyes, and yet you are too blind to seen it. it. started with a black man to win the presidency, which provided they energy, it picked up speed with the repubs led supreme court changing our democracy from individuals to corporations, it solidify with the NRA, forcing a whole branch of government to kneel to their knees and do their bidding, it will be realized when their leader is elected, then the transfer of power from the government to corporation will be completed. they've got one problem, and that they've messed with a president that truly care about the future of they American people, and he cannot be bought. so they will take him down limb by limb, starting with his attorney general.

    June 28, 2012 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  19. anthony78

    Since Romney is known for making $10,000 bets... I highly doubt a 20k truck was any sweat off his back.
    Heck, he's spending millions of his own money on ads.
    A nice deed, but the guy is still a flip flopping corporate raider and out of touch predatory lender.

    June 28, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  20. TomInRochNY

    Isn't it illegal for a campaign to give gifts to people? Especially expensive ones?

    June 28, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  21. Charlie in Maine

    Hey President Obama,

    Where is my truck?
    I voted for you and all I got was:
    GM and Chrysler saved
    Universal Healthcare
    End of the war in Iraq
    Osama Bin Laden dead
    Gadaofi Dead
    End to DADT
    An administration I could trust again
    Econmomy moving froom 700,00 jobs lost each month to 200,00 gained
    A wicked awesome first lady(okay so we already had that one)
    A step towards pay equality

    So where is my truck dude?

    June 28, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  22. escher7

    So we know he has one vote.

    June 28, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  23. Steve Sproles

    A rich guy actually GAVE somebody something! Amazing! He should make a habit out of it. Not everyone is loaded.

    June 28, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    How ironic! Mitt Romney who accused President Obama of "Wasting" stimulus money on bailing out the Big Three, suggesting that our Auto industry should be allowed to crumble to the ground, all of a sudden decides to buy an American made automobile for a friend in the heat of an election year! I wonder why he didn't buy a foreign automobile where he has all his assets stored! Hypocrisy!

    June 28, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  25. Leeford

    Nice to see Romney lookign out for the little people. Well, the kind of little people who can afford to follow him around with golf clubs instead of working and struggling to support a family.

    June 28, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
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