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Northborough Family 'Surprised' by Mention During VP Debate

The Nixon family knew their story might be referenced during the campaign, but during the VP debate?

When Paul Ryan called up Sheryl and Mark Nixon a few weeks ago, the Northborough couple knew the vice presidential candidate was planning to mention their story during his campaign run soon.

"That was a surprise, actually," Mark Nixon said in a phone interview last night. "I had talked with Paul Ryan earlier this week and I thought maybe they'd want to talk about this in a campaign speech. I thought it was a complex story to get across in a few seconds."

That "complex story" is that the Nixons' sons, Rob and Reed, were in a car crash in 1995 that left the brothers quadriplegic, and drew Mitt Romney into their world. When Romney (then, he was between running for senate and governor) heard of the tragedy, he visited on Christmas Eve day with presents, and then later offered to pay for both of their college educations.

Ryan noted that Romney doesn't talk about his outpouring of generosity to this family, and has shied away from the spotlight on it. But Ryan wanted to show that very side of Romney by bringing the story back out of hiding.

"One of Paul Ryan's campaign managers called me and asked if I'd take a call from Paul," said Mark. "I said sure, and told Paul we don't have any problem with him using the story. His comment to us was that Mitt Romney won't talk about this himself, but that it was his job to be able to tell this side of Romney and the Romney family."

Ryan became aware of the story in September, when the Nixon family was featured on the Glenn Beck show.

"He wasn't a political official at the time," said Mark. "It was just a generous thing. He never told anyone about this. It wasn't a political issue, or a media issue."

While media surrounded the family after the incident happened, it had settled down. Both Rob and Reed got college degrees, and are doing very well. Robert is a CPA living in Orange County, CA, and "got married to a firecracker of a young woman."

Attention once again came to the family when in 2011 Sheryl published "In the Blink of an Eye: the Rob and Reed Nixon Story." She also maintains a family blog about the Nixons, with links to coverage of the family. 

Romney, Mark said, has continued to keep in touch with the Nixons, and has offered support through the years. He has participated in 5K races on their behalf, as well as golf tournaments, and sent gifts to Rob and Reed for graduation.

"We're happy this story is getting out there," said Mark, "and I have explained to some family and friends that you can have a disagreement on the politics of Mitt Romney, but you cannot doubt his family values and integrity. I believe I'm moderate, politically, and the person's values and integrity is the place that I start. Then I look at the political issues. I believe [Romney] is a moderate and he represents most what I'm interested in. We're happy to have this story out and to the public."

And as for the family's fame?

"This will be short lived," laughed Mark. "Talk about six seconds of fame. Reed and Rob are motivational speakers, and they are used to talking and interacting and doing public speaking. This will die down pretty quickly."

Fran B October 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Mitt Romney certainly gave from the heart to these two young men when tragedy struck. Their futures were brighter because of his self-less generosity. But we are voting in November for a President and as Governor, Mitt Romney was not as benevolent to the thousands of other young adults looking for higher education. According to the Boston Globe, “Another shift hit students at state colleges and universities, where fees soared 63 percent during Romney’s tenure, from an average of $2,959 in 2003 to $4,836 in 2007, according to the state Board of Higher Education. The fee hikes were enacted by each campus to offset deep budget cuts of about $140 million, or about 14 percent, during the fiscal crisis.” [Boston Globe, 6/29/07]
Diana Toon October 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I too am voting for "President of the United States of America" in November, 2012. I have watched increases in the cost of education requiring bond elections not only at the college level but starting with preschool on up over the past several years in Arizona. At the same time that we are increasing fees, cuts have been made in other areas such as music, art and athletics that help keep children interested in learning and more diversified. I can only assume that this situation is spread across the country and therefore I would not place blame on Mitt Romney for these increased costs. I am looking for a leader who really cares about the people and their needs. I am looking for a man who has morals and believes in what this great country stands for. I don't care that his religion is not the same as mine. I don't care that he is rich or how much money he paid in taxes. The fact that he knows how to run a business and make money doing it shows me a pattern that I hope would continue in the day to day running of this country. May GOD bless this country with a man who wants to help us make a better life for ourselves, our children and each other rather than destroy America.
Andet Gonza October 13, 2012 at 04:50 PM
where have higher education costs NOT soared?
karen October 13, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Did Ryan not say that this family were members of the Mormon church? Great that he helped them but if they were not members of his church would he have been so gracious??
melody edwards October 13, 2012 at 05:43 PM
This makes me sick do you really think Ryan or Romney really gives a ratt patude about some family? You all are'nt dumb are you--its another political trick. If he's so careing than why did'nt he do something to save GM in Janesville? I'm from there all those people the lucky ones went to other factories, most lost their livelyhoods and the town has gone down hill from that point on, I was lucky to sell my house and get out. So spare me on the good Ryan he's another Republican looking out for his own pockets.
melody edwards October 13, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Listen up they do these things because they know they can use that later on its not from the heart its economics. These people have an agenda and everything they do is calculated and its done for later on down the road OH Romney is so good. He's good alright he is'nt paying taxes on all that money he's hiding in off shore accounts.
Mrs. G. October 13, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Well said. My daughter lives in MA and was going to school at the time. It is amazing the above information is not common knowledge.
Tom October 13, 2012 at 08:29 PM
informed - heaven forbid someone should have to pay for something they benefit from. Why should my tax dollars pay for your education? Do you make my car or house payments? If you want a college edumication be prepared to pay for it.
John October 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM
This whole discussion has nothing to do with the election, but I would caution anyone who might vote for mitt because he is a successful businessman to review our history. We have never in the in the entire history of our republic had a successful businessman who was more than an average president. We did have one failed businessman, Harry Truman, who was a great President.
Raymond Langan October 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM
It was a great story but to be told on stage with a man that had lost his wife and kids in a car wreck seems crass and uncaring too say the least.I thought Biden handled it well compared to what most would have.
Annhann October 13, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Consider this also: Why didn't Ryan answer Joe Biden that he asked for some of the "STIMULUS" money to help him (his district)? Yet CNN says Ryan has style... WOW! If we are voting on generosity, then we have to consider that the current president gave away a million plus dollars which is more than it would take to educate 2 people. Remember he gave away all of the money he got from the Nobel Peace Prize… Go figure.
Annhann October 13, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Excellent post! According to a feature in the Huffington Post (October 12, 2012), Romney visited The National Republican Convention with his mother and father when he was 16 years of age. His picture was seen in the crowd at the Michigan column. This could have been the beginning of his political dream. Political aspirations could be financed well in advance through numerous avenues like gift giving. The next step for a governor, for example, with political aspirations is the presidency. Accordingly, image building could be an excellent way for a politically "savvy" person to strategically achieve this goal. It is really quite interesting that the story just happened to be aired at this point in time. That is why it is so very important for voters to listen to the issues and specific plans to address them.
Richard Rivera October 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM
There is something in the Bible about true giving and generosity. It has to do with anonimity in your giving. There is nothing noble about using this story for political gain.
Richard Rivera October 14, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Wait a minute. If this young man is disabled he is no doubt on Medicaid. Doesn't that make him one of Romney's "47%", "takers"??? Again, true philanthrophy is anonymous. If reports that the family is Mormon it would be interesting to know if Romney managed to finagle his help as a deduction - then the U.S taxpayer was in on the "help" Would he have done as much for a non-Mormon family? If he is so interested in helping the middle class out why does he disrespect them as he did in his "47%" speech. Now that he was caught in this dastardly ignorant comment he says, "it was wrong..". Yeah, it was wrong but only because you were caught.
Preston Ferrell October 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM
People like M. Edwards make me sick with their dumb remarks. You cannot blame Ryan or Romney for a GM plant closing. They probably were replaced by one in China where many, many of GM's plants are now and they are busier than what's left here in the US. They still owe us 31 Billion to boot. That supported their investments abroad while GM sold many many of their US holdings. The Dems took over took over both Congress and Senate on Jan. 3 2007 and overrode objections by Bush and the Republicans of the liberal housing financing, thus the housing market and values went in the tank. You Idiots that support this whole bunch in office should study the facts before you mouth off and listen to another idiot like Biden. The thought of him being President really gives me cause to worry. There is not enough room here to write all of that pair's sins and coverups that the liberal media refuse to reveal.
Preston Ferrell October 14, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Oh. then why didn't this jerk and all his cronys do even a little better with OUR country? You sure as hell couldn't class them as successful busines men or anything other than liars and cronyism.
Preston Ferrell October 14, 2012 at 01:07 AM
I can't beleive you Liberals. I'll bet you get your head out of your butts if they get another four years of the same performance.
Frances Thorne Scott October 14, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Wasn't the saying " rat's patootie"? Having a little fun!
Joseph Jone October 14, 2012 at 04:30 AM
IF you want to balme anyone for the GM failures..YOU can blame the greedy unions,who received the ridiculous and unrealistic benefit packages and the bad management at GM.....But if they were allowed to go through the Chapter 11 bankrupcy process,GM could have got out of those cadillac benefit packages and save the company millions of dollars and they would not have had to take any bailout money, MY HARD EARNED TAX DOLLARS!!!... But since they did not go through chapter 11, THE BIG GREEDY unions and obama voters got their $40 dollars an hour to push a few buttons for a machine to do all the work...and GM still had to eliminate jobs and certain models. from their product line.(The same thing would have occurred in Chap 11,eliminate some models without taking my money to do this) but then again obama and the communist idiots in the dem party couldn't buy a few more votes..............
Richard Rivera October 14, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Preston Ferrell adds his unenlightened commentary to this discussion. Therein lies the problem with our electorate.
Roger Long October 14, 2012 at 04:46 AM
You are not very bright. Disabilty and Medicaid do not necessarily go hand in hand. My wife had Polio at 4 and has been in a wheelchair for 53 years. She is disabled but has never been on Medicaid. She worked her way through college and has been a productive member of society all of her life. I am Catholic and I help both Catholic and non-Catholic families all the time. What makes you think that Mr Romney only helps Mormons. Look at his tax return. He helps many.Wise up and stop looking for fault and stop being ignorant and so negative
Richard Rivera October 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM
"sopmeone suggests I look at Romney's Tax Returns" - Well yeah! The whole country should look at no less than 4 years, after all he wants to be elected to the highest office in the World! Not to be, Romney, from on high, doesn't feel we need the "ammunition". As to being "ignorant and negative" - to my knowledge there is limit in what income a quadraplegic can attain - I never said that this wasn't possible. A big majority of quadraplegics are on Medicaid - it is how our system takes care of itself. That doesn't foreclose on the notion that all people so handicapped can't work. Why call someone "ignorant and negative" when you know nothing of them.
Richard Rivera October 14, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Roger, you openly state that you are a Catholic but you are quick with the pejoratives. What do you do, beat your chest on Sundays then turn into a monsgter?
Richard Rivera October 15, 2012 at 01:19 AM
"You are not very bright. Disabilty and Medicaid do not necessarily go hand in hand. What makes you think that Mr Romney only helps Mormons. Look at his tax return. Wise up and stop looking for fault and stop being ignorant and so negative" Mr. Long - your above quote suggests you are a bit judgmental. The by-line on this "thread" was re a family that Ryan mentioned in the VP Debate. The subject is not about me, not about you, nor your religion. You read three sentences I wrote and now suggest that I am not "very bright"....and used the words "ignorant" and "negative". You never met me, don't know me and suggest this. How did the story become one of anger and personal attacks? Sir, you mention your religion so I imagine you are familiar with the biblical precept in Proverbs 4:24, "remove dishonesty from your mouth. Put deceptive speech far away from your lips". Steven Hawking is a quadraplegic yet he is a brilliant man who has supported himself well. I was incorrect to suggest that all similarly afflicted people are on Medicaid and know not the percentage. It is safe to say that a good percentage of these folks do find it difficult to support themselves and that is what our Medicaid system is all about. Please don't go to church then rush home to your computer to make pejorative attacks on people who simply seek intelligent discourse on a current issue. "Put deceptive speech far away from your lips.".
melody edwards October 18, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Did you hear the lastest Romney hired homeless people $8.00 an hour to wear his Romney for President T-Shirts thats as low as low can get. On the lastest Libya news Romney is blaming Obama for having Osama Bin Laden killed and says its brought all this to us. Is this the Commander In Chief you would want to be handling the worlds business, not mine, no thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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