I can’t wait for this to blow up into some massive political theater. During a campaign stop in South Carolina, Mitt Romney was seen literally handing out cash to a voter. However, the truth of the story makes it seem a lot less sinister than it sounds on the surface.
Presidential candidates hear tales of woe all the time on the campaign trail. But rarely does one respond by pulling cash out of his back pocket to help a struggling voter pay her bills.
Mitt Romney did just that here Saturday night, according to ABC News. When a 55-year-old woman, Ruth Williams, who said she lost her job last October, approached the Republican presidential front-runner on the rope line following a campaign rally in Sumter, he gave her what an aide later said was about $50 or $60.
The woman claims she was driving her car and praying, wondering how she was going to pay her utility bill, when she saw Romney’s campaign bus and God told her to follow it. Arriving at the event, Romney decided to help her out and she’s been volunteering at Mitt’s campaign HQ since then.
I’ll leave it to the experienced legal eagles to sniff around and see if there’s any possible election law violation here, but I’d certainly hope not. It’s not as if you could demonstrate any sort of quid pro quo here, after all, though I’d be willing to bet that the woman is probably pretty well disposed to vote for Romney at this point. But what if Romney wasn’t trying to “buy” just one vote? Mediaite seems to hint at this.
Romney has been dogged on the campaign trail by claims by his opponents that his wealth makes him out-of-touch with ordinary Americans.
Was Romney aware that making such a generous, spontaneous gesture might be good PR for him? I don’t doubt it. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t sincere either. And by this time, I’d hope that he and his team are well enough versed in election law to shut something like that down if it actually ran afoul of the rules. Here’s the video, also courtesy of Mediaite, where the lady describes the situation herself, so you can decide.