In July, the political arm of the Service Employees International Union aired a television advertisement in Spanish that included video of Romney making the foreclosure statement. The group purchased $4 million in advertising time to air the spot throughout the summer in three states: Colorado, Florida and Nevada.
Last year, Obama announced in Nevada a plan aimed at easing restrictions to help homeowners who were current in their mortgages but owed more than the property was worth. It was a revision of a $75 million program Obama announced in 2009, again in Nevada, aimed at stemming foreclosures for millions of Americans behind in their mortgages. The original program fell far short of its goal.
Perrine, whose real estate agency has struggled, is among those who agree with Romney when he says that Obama has artificially buoyed the housing market.
"There's a huge shadow inventory of homes sitting back there that at some point is going to be dumped on the market," continuing the downward trend in property values, said Perrine, who supports Romney.
While Romney takes heat for his "hit the bottom" comment, he's jumping on Obama's recent comment that "If you've got a business, you didn't build that." And that line of attack may be resonating in spite of widespread criticism that Romney and others have taken Obama's remark out of context.
Phil Randazzo, a local businessman who insures small-scale employers, said he was outraged. He blames federal intervention for holding back investors and stalling Las Vegas' comeback. Since 2007, the number of employees his company insures has dropped 40 percent.
"I don't think the guy's evil or anything," Randazzo said of Obama. "I just think he has no clue what he's doing and he's way in over his head trying to solve this economy."
Conversely, Ron Nelsen, who sells and installs garage doors, insists that two rounds of federal housing assistance are yielding rewards. Says the Obama backer, "I'm off to my best quarter - dare I say profitable - since 2007, and it's because of the risk this president took in helping Nevada stay afloat."