Mitt Romney says he’s been encouraged by all of the regular Americans who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps that he has met while traveling across the country stumping to be the next president of the United States.
On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee told supporters in Salem, Virginia that he had been “inspired” by Harold Hamm, a “truck driver” turned billionaire oil tycoon who gave a pro-Romney super PAC nearly $1 million and later became chairman of Romney’s “Energy Policy Advisory Group.”
“I go to various parts of the country and I’m just inspired by what I see,” Romney explained. “Met a guy named Harold Hamm. Harold Hamm is a truck driver for 10 years, saves his money driving trucks to get an education, gets a college degree in geology. He happens to look at maps of the United States [and] concludes that there must be some energy in the mountains of North Dakota and so he goes up there and starts drilling for oil.”
“First well, nothing. Second well, nothing. Sixteen straight dry holes, gets nothing. I’m told that a dry hole costs about $5 million. I can’t imagine where he got the investors to give him that kind of money. On the 17th hole, they got their return because they hit that black gold known as oil. Now, it’s estimated that in this Bakken range there are about 20 billion barrels of oil!”
The candidate added: “Harold is doing just fine, by the way.”
Forbes puts Hamm at number 36 on their list of billionaires in the United States. Earlier this year, he complained to Businessweek that he had not gotten enough attention from President Barack Obama during a White House meeting last year.
“It was like, if you’re in the oil-and-gas industry, you don’t matter,” he recalled.
Last October, he gave the maximum contribution of $2,500 directly to Mitt Romney’s campaign and on April 3 he donated $985,000 to Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super PAC.
On March 1, the Romney campaign announced that Hamm had been named as the chairman of their “Energy Policy Advisory Group.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast June 26, 2012.