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October 21, 2014

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Caucus a target for Vegas cliches

Gordon Absher, vice president of public affairs for MGM Mirage, over the

past week repeatedly found himself explaining to journalists from Japan to

Washington that, no, casino workers were not going to be caucusing on the

casino floor.

The casinos have meeting rooms, he patiently told them.

This was all part of the impromptu role as Las Vegas Valley ambassador

he assumed while fielding media requests to talk to

casino workers about the caucus from England's BBC, the Arab world's Al

Jazeera and a host of Japanese TV networks, as well as all of this country's

national networks and cable stations.

"Some of these folks, all they have to go on is stereotypes," Absher said.

"There's the temptation to take something serious like the caucus and turn

it into a series of Las Vegas cliches."

So what did he do?

"I found myself explaining to them, "Don't confuse us with the marketing,"

Absher said. "We live here. These are people participating in the caucus.

We're concerned about schools and roads and the issues other people care

about."

Still, the company decided to turn down one request from all: shots from the

casino floor.

"A lot of folks wanted pictures in the casino," he said. "But it would be

turning the caucus into (something) kitschy ... leading people to believe

that our votes count less than others.

"We didn't want to. It would ... lend itself too easily to the stereotype --

'Candidates in Las Vegas are throwing the dice.'"

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