CANTON, OH—According to reports, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped by Wednesday morning to check up on Allen and Brenda Spearing, a financially strapped mother and father of three with whom he met briefly and had his photo taken while campaigning last year.
Family members said Romney, who arrived at their home unaccompanied and unannounced, warmly greeted them when they opened the door and, after he was invited inside, spent more than three hours catching up with them.
“It’s been a few months since I’ve seen you guys, so I thought I’d pop by and see how everyone is holding up,” Romney said after hugging the Spearings, who confirmed the 2012 GOP nominee has phoned or emailed regularly since the October campaign stop during which he shook their hands for five seconds and assured them he would work hard for their family if elected president. “I know I didn’t win in November, but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t do what I said and fight each and every day for you. Things haven’t been easy lately, and I just want you to remember that I’m always here if you need a hand.”
“How’s little Gracie doing, by the way?” Romney continued. “She turned 7 in March, right? I tell you, they sure do grow up fast.”
Though he is no longer running for president, sources said Romney has tirelessly kept in touch with every single American he met throughout his campaign, including a struggling single mother of four in Florida, a New Jersey family whose home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and thousands of other voters with whom he appeared in photos while wearing rolled-up sleeves and blue jeans.
After several minutes of small talk with the Spearings, Romney reportedly steered the discussion to their financial situation, first suggesting ways the family could refinance their costly mortgage and then going over some job leads he had researched for Allen, who was laid off from his position at an automotive plant last August.
“The job market is tough right now, and trust me, you’re not the only one going through this,” said Romney, putting his arm around the 46-year-old father. “But listen, I know a few people in the manufacturing sector, and I’ve been putting in some calls for you. I’m sure one of these prospects will work out sooner or later.”
“In the meantime, take the wife and kids out for a nice meal on me,” added Romney, discreetly handing Spearing several $20 bills from his wallet.
Later, the onetime presidential hopeful was seen choking back tears while discussing the Spearings’ eldest son, 23-year-old Matthew, an Army sergeant who recently left for his second military tour in Afghanistan.
“Matty’s a tough kid, and he can look after himself over there,” said a visibly emotional Romney, noting that he has been talking to Matthew over Skype at least once a week since the deployment. “I know how much you miss him—we all do. I sent him a care package a while back. He loves getting those Rice Krispies treats, and he said he enjoyed the DVDs, too.”
The visit to the Spearings’ home was immediately followed by a trip to the nearby Deer Creek Retirement Center, where sources said Romney spent one-on-one time with all 200 residents, each of whom he appeared to know by name. He then met with a cash-strapped small business owner in danger of losing her family-run restaurant, personally combing through the woman’s entire 2012 IRS filing in search of any additional tax credits she might be able to take advantage of next year.
As with every voter Romney has visited—from Virginia to Wisconsin to Colorado—the Spearings expressed their gratitude for the former Massachusetts governor’s heartfelt concern.
“I’m ashamed to admit it now, but when we first met him during the campaign, I thought maybe he was just saying all that stuff because he was running for president, you know?” Allen Spearing told reporters. “It turns out that’s just the kind of guy Mitt is.”
“He told my family he cared about us, and he really does,” Spearing added.
At press time, Romney had reportedly left Ohio just in time to make it to his weekly five-hour volunteer shift at a soup kitchen in New Hampshire.