Is a Breitbart contributor behind Herman Cain’s smoking ad?
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and 2012 presidential contender Herman Cain made quite a splash recently with his new campaign ad, which features his Chief of Staff, Mark Block, talking about the candidate and blowing smoke into the camera. But, as Mother Jones reporter Kevin Drum noted, it’s hardly Cain’s first effort at non-traditional campaign ads. So with everyone asking, “Who thinks this stuff up?,” Raw Story dug into Cain’s campaign finance reports for an answer.
Cain’s reports reflect that he paid four vendors for “media production” since the inception of his campaign: Ground Floor Productions in Woodstock, GA, which made $13,872.50; Narrow Path Productions in Canton, GA, which made $3,400; one Gerald Strober in New York City, who earned $4,000; and a company called Little Bonanza Productions in Agua Dulce, California, which made $185,000.
Little Bonanza doesn’t have much of a web presence — but it’s co-founder, actor, director, producer and Big Hollywood contributor Chris Burgard does. Burgard, whose credits include a stint on the 80s sitcom Growing Pains, a turn as writer-director-actor in the Troma Studios straight-to-DVD horror film The Ruining and the helm of the conservative immigration documentary Border. His Big Hollywood bio also says that he’s a former stuntman who grew up in Wisconsin — which, as Roll Call‘s David Drucker first noted, is home to many a current Cain staffer — and his contributions to the entertainment industry site in Breitbart’s “Bigs” network run the gamut from the need to support the troops to “values” issues to taxes to the size of automobiles.
Laura Donovan of The Daily Caller first confirmed Burgard’s involvement in Cain’s video outreach via musician Gary Eaton, who says the original inspiration behind his rally-friendly song “The Herman Cain Train” came directly from Burgard. “Chris [Burgard] came in with a strong idea and we created off of it,” he told Donovan.
Luke Livingston of Ground Floor Productions — one of Cain’s other vendors — says that Burgard was also the director behind Cain’s announcement video. He told Raw Story, “We provided some of the equipment,” for the shoot, but Cain’s people “brought in a director,” whom he identified as Burgard.
Burgard’s involvement in one of Cain’s other videos, “He Carried Yellow Flowers,” also seems likely, given that it stars character actor Nick Searcy and the two Georgia media production companies paid by the Cain campaign might have a little trouble getting a moderately well-known character actor to come to Georgia for a long-form campaign commercial.
Cain’s records also reflect that Burgard was paid — likely reimbursed — for $1730.35 in event supplies, “lodging, airfare and meeting expenses” and “transportation, meeting expenses and postage” in July and September 2011.
Burgard, the Cain campaign and Big Hollywood did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.