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. NoTags

    I wonder if the man is a mormon. Since the mormons consider all other religions an abomination I feel sure mitt wouldn't have purchased a new truck for a non-mormon supporter.

    June 28, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Martin

    So someone's truck burned and Romney gave him a bailout of a new truck?

    Sounds like solid, Conservative principles to me.

    June 28, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Martin

    I would like to find out if the money for the truck came from Romney personally or out of campaign funds?

    If it came from campaign funds, it could be seen as paying off a supporter, which is a major breach of campaign finance law.

    June 28, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Critical Thinking

    It's kinda pathetic that even mentally disturbed liberal democrats can't just say; that was a nice act of kindness, there is no hope for you all. Why don't you all just pack your bags, buy a one way ticket to Europe and enjoy the rioting and long lines that will be coming their way. Absolutely pathetic.

    June 28, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Well, there's ONE vote for Romney.
    He had to BUY that vote ALSO, but there's ONE vote nonetheless....unless the old people's home catches up with Mr. 30 pairs of dirty underwear and puts him back on his meds that is.
    If I had a "fan" like knee-high Wilson I wouldn't brag about it.

    June 28, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. V

    Typical Republican. Has no issue buying a supporter a car (votes), but does not want money spent on health care for children or those who cannot afford it. Kinda makes them look like their priorities are a little skewed, doesnt' it? But then again, Mitt has always been able to "buy" whatever he wants. Just like he is trying to buy this election!

    The price of that vehicle is pocket change to Mitt Romney. Think about that folks when you head to the Polls in November. Is this guy really in touch with what the middle class has had to endure?

    June 28, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. bdd

    So many of you are criticizing Romney saying that he not only bought this guy a truck but also bought his vote. If you read ANY of the article you would clearly see that this is one of Romney's most dedicated fans. I'm pretty sure he had absolutely no need to "buy" this guy's vote. The fan traveled over 60,000 miles supporting Romney day after day. In other words, and God forbid, Romney replacing this man's vehicle was an incredibly generous act. Period. Quit trying to turn a good deed into some kind of corruption.

    June 28, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe the new OPRAH....YOU GOT A CAR! VOTE FOR ME!!!!....yeah, mitt just withdraw some funds from his SWISS BANK & the CAYMEN ISLAND Accounts to splurge freebies on his lackeys. free cheese anyone?!!!

    It's just like Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe trotting out a CEO to defend his VULTURE CAPIATALIST job raiding record...he can't find just one employee @ BAIN that says Mitt's business record was good for them; its all his top 1% corporate buddies & ceo's who got a payback & made a profit OUTSOURCING & OFFSHORING AMERICAN JOBS to MEXICO AND INDIA!!!!

    "corporations are people too, my friend" – mitt robme!!! REMEMBER THAT!!!!

    June 28, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. lolo

    Anything to win the white house I see. Noble gesture Robme, but it won't work. You need to be helping all of America, not just the people who you think are going to vote for you. Wake up America, the republican party has gone haywire and we are in big trouble if this puppet is president.

    June 28, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Gil Nodges

    Mitt, this is going to be an expensive campaign, if you have to buy a new truck for all 12 of your supporters......

    June 28, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If you read ANY of the article you would clearly see that this is one of Romney's most dedicated fans.
    Don't take this bs story so seriously bdd. I read the article in it's ENTIRETY and the old man sounds like a loon.
    And I must correct you, knee-high Wilson is Romney's ONLY fan.
    This article is nothing but ANOTHER desperate and DISPARATE attempt to humanize this humanoid of a nominee.
    They failed miserably, and only managed to raise ethical questions in the process.

    June 28, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Beverly - NYC

    Mittens the new Oprah, you get a cat and you get a car

    June 28, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Gov 47th in Job Creation

    While in VA Mitty said "I’m asked from time-to-time why don’t you like Obamacare? What is it that’s wrong with it? Well let me count the ways, there are a lot," Romney said Wednesday in Sterling, Virginia. "First, I don’t like the idea of government bureaucrats getting between us and our doctors, that’s number one."
    The irony is too great. In the state where Willard's buddy is the governor, the governor who has mandated that women seeking an abortion get an ultrasound. So we have mandates from a govt bureaucrat getting in between a woman and her doctor. Wanna try again Willard? Someone on Willard's campaign better get in his ear now that, there is plenty of footage out there where Willard proclaimed that MA healthcare law SHOULD BE used as a model for the rest of the country. Willard can't run from Romneycare but does sincerely deserve thanks for getting the ball rolling on healthcare for us.

    June 28, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. Wilfuk Suap

    Critical Thinking apparently can not think!

    June 28, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. REALLY?

    Romney really is a nice and generous (with time & money) guy. But most do not want to hear those details. It's an inconvienent fact for the jaded dems and mormon haters. Mitt gave his inheritance from his father to charity. Every dime! Most could not be more wrong about his motives and character, but that's politics in all it's horrible glory.

    June 28, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. dakster

    How does this story sit above the Health Care decision priority wise. CNN needs to get its priorities right.

    June 28, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Woman In California

    I wonder who REALLY didn't sleep last night? After the polls yesterday, Willard must have gone home (wherever that is) and kicked up his legs screaming.

    As for this truck- who really cares? As usual, he's trying to buy votes and MY vote is NOT for sale. The president doesn't have to stoop that low because his supporters REALLY like him anyway. Bottom line: non-story.

    June 28, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Donkey Party

    Critical Thinking – Those "long lines" in Europe are from austerity policies embraced by your right-wing ilk. So why don't you buy a ticket instead?

    June 28, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Bob

    If Romney gives me a brand new Chevy Silverado, I will vote for him. If not, Obamas my man.

    June 28, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. i want a mega rich Mormon who hidvilvies money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    I wish Robme would buy me a truck too
    ...cannot vote for you though.

    June 28, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    OBAMACARE upheld by the United States Supreme Court!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    SHUT UP!
    Obama 2012 ALL THE WAY.

    (Yes Boo-Hoo, I am spiking the ball AGAIN!). LOL!

    June 28, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Bill

    CNN, you're doing your best to demean Romney and anyone who likes him. You're very disappointing as a NEWS channel. If you're going to be so biased you should be on Abama's payroll-if you aren't already.

    June 28, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Tammy

    Isn't using campaign funds for personal gifts exactly what got John Edwards in trouble?

    June 28, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. REALLY?

    @Woman in California.

    "Willard" is fine because this decision just handed his campaign a lightning bolt of a cause. And your right, this is a non story. BUT you know CNN likes to cherry pick stories in a way that is critical of things even as simple as a nice jesture.

    Selective and slanted journalism feeds the partisanship that's destroying our government. How about the fact CNN did NOT have the Zimmerman lie detectors results when the story broke anywhere on thier front page! CNN has been condeming and blasting the guy, but downplay any revelation contrary to thier "position". Non-story because it didn't fit with how they were painting it. CNN must please it's readers who like to hear an ever so certain version of the truth.

    June 28, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  25. Mia

    This will create the largest job boom since the dotcom era – truck drivers, manufacturing of supplies and equipment, nurses, x-ray techs – laundry personnel for towels and sheets, pharmacy techs, medical transcriptions – you name it. If Obama is elected and it holds, get ready for the new revolution of health-care jobs!

    June 28, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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