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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.
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."
Ms. Williams, a Republican, said in an interview that she does not have enough money to care for her 26-year-old son, who recently suffered a brain aneurysm. She said God told her to follow the Romney campaign, which she has been doing since Wednesday.
The exchange came as Mr. Romney’s rivals try to cast him as out of touch with average people in South Carolina. Mr. Romney’s personal wealth is estimated at between $190 million and $250 million.
The word is that South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis paid her light bill on Thursday by giving her $150. Excuse me if I am a skeptic, but how did Mitt Romney know to give this woman money? Did she ask him for money as she waited to shake his hand? Was this a campaign stunt to show that he really cares about the little people? The woman said since she has been volunteering at Romney’s campaign office since meeting his bus last week, cleaning and doing other things, ABC News reports. So, I guess that $50 or $60 dollars he reportedly gave her was to pay for her work. Don’t be fooled people. This didn’t come from a place of compassion but a photo op.
Originally posted by FlyersFan
I don't think she was a plant.
I think she took the money when offered .. hell .. why not?
I thought it was a really strange story for the news to make such a big deal out of.
A woman needed a hand ... Romney handed her some money to help.
No big deal. Certainly not worthy of all the attention in the media.
It's a non-story. IMHO