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December 21, 2014

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Mitt Romney ad features Nevadans in attack on Obama

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Steve Marcus

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney answers questions from reporters after meeting with students at the UNLV Student Union Monday, May 16, 2011.

“20,000,000 Bumps in the Road” commercial, rereleased shorter cut

“20,000,000 Bumps in the Road” commercial, original cut

Sun Coverage

WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama told a group of workers at an auto plant in Ohio this month that “there are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery,” Mitt Romney’s campaign rushed to rural Nevada to film a retort.

But the individuals Romney’s campaign featured in its “20 Million Bumps in the Road” commercial may not be a representative sample of job-seeking Nevadans — or even necessarily those displeased with Obama’s economic policies.

The commercial features about a dozen Nevadans lying on a stretch of road north of Las Vegas. Each rises one by one to proclaim: “I am an American, not a bump in the road.”

According to Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams, the commercial’s “specific focus was on the 20 million who were unemployed or underemployed; people who have been affected by President Obama’s failed fiscal policies.”

Nevada is fertile ground to focus on the recession. It’s the worst state in foreclosures (which have affected 70 percent of homeowners) and unemployment (which is more than 12 percent). You don’t have to look too far to find a Nevadan down on his or her luck.

The people featured in the commercial come from all walks of life, and at least in the original commercial, have a variety of stories to tell of the recession. But of those the Romney campaign identified or made available to the Sun, not all are looking for Obama to help them join the workforce.

Two are members of UNLV College Republicans club: Mark Ciavola, its president, and Derrick Lea, who is the campus outreach director.

Ciavola, 36, returned to college in 2009 after working in sales for several years at AT&T.

In the original commercial, Ciavola is the first to rise from the ground, holding a sign declaring his support for Romney upon which “I Want A Job When I Graduate!” is scrawled.

“Like all other students, I realize that it is increasingly difficult for recent graduates to get a job,” he said.

Ciavola, who was a volunteer for Rep. Joe Heck’s re-election campaign and also serves as an elected delegate to the Republican Party’s state central committee, has about two years left to complete his degree in political science. He’s a native of Massachusetts, where he said he voted for Romney when he challenged Sen. Ted Kennedy for the Senate in 1994, and as governor in 2002.

Lea is featured in the commercial with “Where are the jobs?” written across his Romney sign. But Lea says in his profile on the College Republicans’ website that he plans to enter law school after graduation — not the workforce.

The commercial was released hours before last week’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate in New Hampshire and a shorter version was released Thursday, which means the Romney campaign had only 10 days from conception of the idea to the release of the ad.

The campaign relied on word of mouth to get out the word that it was seeking volunteers to speak as down-and-out Americans.

Sara Lainz, a single mother who appears in the original cut of the commercial with her 11-year-old twin daughters, said she responded when a friend who she had volunteered with on Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008 told her about the filming.

Lainz was laid off in August as an assistant to the co-founder of Ardyss International, a network manufacturing company based in Mexico.

“I believe that what the country needs now is someone who can help the economy and create jobs,” Lainz told the Sun when asked why she volunteered. “I think Mitt Romney is the one who can make the change for us: We need someone who knows finances, someone with business experience, and will put the United States back on a good track.”

Romney has been touting his financial experience as one of the key credentials separating him from Obama, and like other Republicans, has taken to describing the country’s financial situation as Obama’s recession.

But when asked what she thought about Obama’s role in creating the bad economy, Lainz didn’t really have anything bad to say.

“I’m not blaming President Obama for what is going on. Obviously, things happen, and it’s not just America, it’s worldwide,” she said. “I just — I dunno. With all these rumors about his origin and the birth certificate scandal and everything else, it’s just a bit confusing.”

Nevada is considered a Romney stronghold: He won the early caucuses in 2008, has maintained a base of operations in the state, and has swung through Nevada a handful of times to drum up support for his 2012 campaign, and “intends to return and visit often,” Williams said.

The commercial, which aired nationally, does not identify the participants as Nevadans or specify the location where the commercial was filmed.

The Sun was not able to reach the entire cast to hear their reasons for participating; those appearing in the commercial used only their first names on the signs, and the Romney campaign and those participants reached either were not able to or declined to give last names and contact information for the other participants.

The others featured in the commercial are Jessica, who wrote “I’m a Mother, not a Statistic”; Jerry, who “was working 50 hours per week now I work 10”; Kevin, who says he “now need(s) three jobs to cover expenses”; Dustin, whose company went bankrupt; Jason, who has $150,000 in student loans; and Melissa, Matt, Shirley and Ryan, all of whom wrote they have been unemployed for a year or two.

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  1. Republicans nationwide are attempting to cut education spending and Mitt Romney comes to UNLV to "Help Students". Insane. His hero is a 36 year old that doesn't even participate in student affairs. Insane.

    The Real Estate market was already doomed in 2006 and Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs was hired by Bush to save it and Romney blames Obama for that. Insane.

    Mitt Romney, a Mormon, believes that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri, where Joseph Smith Jr., their prophet discovered it and the sacrificial alter which Adam is very close. That's where Adam killed animals to make God happy. (and the Second coming is also going to be in Missouri, in the same Garden !!...true story.)

    Vote for Mitt and put the finger of a Mutt-Nut-Cake on the nuclear war button, because God will lead us to Victory, as He did with Bush. The Sky Pilot taking charge: cleared for take-off Dude!!

  2. A bump?! It is only a bump if you are a millionaire. Out of touch and multi-faced is no way to go through life, Mitt.

  3. This is why the Republicans have NO SHOT at the White House in 2012.
    NONE.
    Americans are not THAT stupid, Mittens.

  4. From the guy who managed a Hedge Fund by aquiring U.S. companies, laying off employees and then shipping jobs to China. He may be good for Chinese Jobs but not so hot for creating American Jobs.

  5. Mitt's Five Boys have never been in the military, even during peacetime.

    When asked during his campaign why none of his sons were serving in Iraq, he said "They are serving their Country by helping their Dad get elected President". Mitt has alternate Patriotic duties for his family - AND friends, and has no problem with sending other people's children to a War he supports.

    Mitt's family are destined to be leaders and he doesn't want them coming back disfigured, disabled or in a wheel chair or plastic bag. Levitus gives explicit instructions, that disfigured people cannot be allowed to lead a Church, and he wants his Pretty Boys to be leaders.

    Leviticus is very clear on the fact that physical disfigurement somehow connects that person to the work of the Devil - and Mitt knows that America needs Biblical Law to survive.

  6. You don't see Dean Heller's children in the military either - they are destined for Glory and Leadership, not sod and sprinkler water.

  7. Mitt Romney is out of touch, and has no chance of being elected to anything! Running for Dog Catcher would a challenge!

  8. I had an opportunity to meet and greet Mr. Mitt Romney at the AAFES Exchange at Nellis Air Force Base last year.

    Apparently, he was invited on base to set up a little booth to sign books. I guess he just came out with some kind of book that outlined his vision for a Republican hellworld something or other.

    To make a long story short, I walked past him and around behind his booth. Where the other books were.

    I looked, decided and made my choice.

    I bought the latest installment in the Spenser private detective series in paperback that had just come out then by Robert B. Parker. Rather than Mitt Romney drivel.

    Money well spent. The book was good. I'm very sure I made the wiser choice in which fiction to read.

    Anyways, if I got the Mitt Rommey book, the ending was already evident: More tax cuts for the filthy rich.

    If the Republicans want to nominate him as their candidate, I don't care.

    I guess for them, he fits in good. Because Republicans always pick the reject from four years ago. They never look for innovation. They look for serious dogmatic horse-with-blinders candidates they are sure of that have proved they can wreck this country. Serious soup sandwich time. They don't like to deviate from that purpose and line of thought.

    As far as I'm concerned, he's a waste. Just another run-of-the-mill Republican with tiresome, antiquated ideas on how to run this country (into the dirt). Keep him away from the White House. He'd just screw it up.

  9. Nevada and the USA need Mitt just like we need 5 more years of Obama.

  10. SunJon-

    So rather than engage the issues raised in the article, you merely launch a shallow polemical attack on obscure mormon religious doctrines - beliefs which Romney may or may not even share.

    Among all the republican candidates, Mitt Romney prefers to keep his beliefs to himself and would rather focus on the issues.

    Your attacks on Romney's mormonism are just as shallow and absurd as the attacks on JFK's Catholicism.

    Furthermore, how are Romney's alleged religious beliefs any more loony than Obama's professed christian beliefs?

    Last time I checked, Obama's religion was based on a book of myths and fairy tales written by Hebrew goat herders.