May 25th, 2009
09:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Nevada governor turns down Obama airport meeting

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nevada's Republican governor has turned down an invitation from the White House to briefly greet President Obama when he visits the state tomorrow for a Democratic fundraising event, citing comments the president made earlier this year calling on companies that received taxpayer-funded bailouts to avoid wasting money on luxuries like company planes and Vegas vacations.

“While I appreciate the offer, I am not interested in a handshake and a hello from President Obama, I am interested in an apology and plan to undo the damage the President did,” Gov. Jim Gibbons said in a Monday statement.

He again called on Obama to publicly promote Nevada tourism, and to apologize for his remark that business leaders receiving money from the government "can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime,” blaming the president for the recent cancellation of hundreds of conventions and other meetings originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, and the loss of more than $100 million in revenue.

"President Obama is coming to Las Vegas to take millions of dollars in campaign cash for Senator Harry Reid, while the President’s own words have hurt working families in Nevada and damaged the economy in Nevada for businesses large and small,” he said. “Both men should be ashamed, because people are suffering through the depths of the recession while they practice the height of hypocrisy."

The White House, which had offered Gibbons the chance to speak with Obama at the airport, has not yet responded to a request for reaction to the governor’s latest statement. Last week, Gibbons said the president had turned down a request for a sit-down meeting.

Filed under: Extra • President Obama
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Alfred E. Neumann

    Come on now did the White House seriously believe that a member from the opposing party would greet him at the airport. Would a Democratic governor have met Bush at the airport?


    And to report on an article like this is silly.

    May 25, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  2. America Shrugged

    More sour grapes from the GOP. Let em snub the President, just goes to show you how petty they have become. No way in heck should banks, insurance companies, ect.. be taking tax payer money and then squandering it in Vegas or any other vacation hot spot. That money is suppose to loosen up the credit markets for small business and consumers in order to jump start the economy. Why should taxpayer money be used to keep sin city going when so many who also depend on tourism are hurting around the country? Or is Vegas too large to fail? Hmmm

    May 25, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  3. Karl

    I believe the gov'nor needs to man up. The President made that comment at a time when government bailed out companies continued their outlandish junkets. Now, if the governor's unable to comprehend the President's words, possibly he needs to purchase a bridge in Alaska.

    May 25, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. annie for Palin

    Good for Gov. Gibbons. As obama told everyone else not to jet here and there, he is constantly jetting here and there to campaign. Someone needs to tell him he won the election.

    May 25, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. Perusing-through


    (1.) It was the Republican Congressmen who first blasted Detroit Auto-Execs for taking private jets to D.C to beg for $Billions in bailout.

    (2.) The news media followed that up with constant sightings about bailed-out corporations spending $Millions at pricey resorts to include Las Vegas. Again, Congressional Republicans jumped out in front to show their 'fake' outrage.

    Gov. Gibbons would do better if he directed his anger against his own party.

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. Mike in Texas

    Using the President as a scapegoat I see. And please Obama haters don't come on post comments bashing him about this. You were the same ones screaming when a large bank who received TARP money had planned an event for employee recognition. If the Governor wants to blame someone he should be blame the greed of everyone that got us into this whole problem. Singling out Obama shows his ignorance.

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. Terry From Iowa

    Gov. Gibbons, owes me an apology for his childish tantrum and for insulting our intelligence. The President said they can’t “… on the taxpayer’s dime” and the President is right.

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. sharon in pa

    another embarrassment to us moderate republicans who believe in working together, talking together ...Q-Tip – Quit Taking It Personally.

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. gwen

    Is Nevada's Governor 5 years old??!!!!!!

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. E.C.Coleman

    Congratulations are in order for Governor Gibbins.
    It's about time this country started talking back to obama and called a spade a spade!
    obama is daff!
    As long as obama gets to keep Air Force One operating 24 hours a day so that he can make all his "campaign stops"
    doesn't matter what loss business is taking.
    Shame on obama.
    This jerk hasn't stopped campaigning since he was inaugurated.
    Obama, the campaign is over..............and so will you be over in 4 years.
    We dont need a second term of this mess you've created!!!

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. diogu

    what a childish governor.

    May 25, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. Reading in So. Cal

    Perhaps the governor needs to understand that there is a recession going on and Obama did not call on everyone to cancel Vegas vacations, just those who were receiving bailout money.

    May 25, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. Antoine

    Oh, so this guy DOES want incompetent execs of failed companies to host parties on our dime? Score one for the republican party. These people just don't seem to learn.

    May 25, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  14. Patsy Madison, TN

    Gov. Gibbons thinks just like all the right-wing republicans. He owes President Obama an apology. I can harldy believe how some republicans treat the President of the United States. As terrible as Bush was, the democrats show respect for the offfice. This may be Gov. Gibbons' last elected office if he is going to behave like this. Shame on him.

    May 25, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. maf

    So the Nevada Governor still believes that corporations CAN use taxpayer dollars to bring their conventions to Vegas?? Maybe the Governor should think about the advertising that we are all now so familiar with "what goes in Vegas, stays in Vegas". Time to get back to some moral values and build on disposable income that is now only available to a select percentage of today's wage earners.

    Is Nevada in line for stimulus money? Another Republican hypocrit.
    This is tiring, the GOP snubbing their noses at President Obama.
    It WILL come back to bite them. That's what Karma is all about!

    May 25, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Jay Bob

    "Business leaders can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime,” ...

    Yeah, what a CRAZY thing to say!! That ranks right up there with "Bring 'em on." or "The insurgency is in it's last throes." What Pres. Obama said was spot on, and is a comment about corporate greed, if the soft skulled gov. of Nevada wants to blame the downturn of the US tourism industry as a whole on this comment, so be it. Comments like this, and those from loathsome, wildly unpopular scum like Limbaugh and Cheney are the reason the GOP will continue to be the minority party. Memo to GOP powerheads; the politics of fear, lies and manipulation are OVER. If any of them had any concept of how the internet works they would've figured this out some time ago. :))

    May 25, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. Irvin

    When the Nevada Governer says that he is interested in an apology and a plan to undo the damage that the president has done, is talking about president Bush, because Obama has done nothing but fix Bush's problems in the first 100 days. And the sad thing is. It is going to take us more than 2 decades to undo only 8 years of bush.

    May 25, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. TCM

    Who'd want to meet someone who cannot carry an intelligent conversation without the use of a teleprompter or supporting cast?
    Kudos to the Nevada Gov.

    May 25, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. JimMinNJ

    Get a new governor, Nevada. Then maybe we'll consider visiting your state.

    May 25, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. obama08

    I don't think Obama caused the downturn in tourism to Vegas. It's the economy stupid!

    May 25, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Curtis in WI

    Is the new Republican theme song "50 Ways To Be An Arse"?

    May 25, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. VegasGurl

    Guess it didn't help either that Vegas was the "flipping" capital of the world when it comes to the housing market crash. I live in the DC area as well and unfortunately it appears that Vegas/Nevada is viewed as just a little blip on the radar screen here in terms of importance to the country. With the unemployment rate now being 10.4%, I'm sure any help Vegas/Nevada can get economically would be appreciated.

    May 25, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. Rich

    Gosh, in a recession tourism is down at a far away resort town. Gee, corporations accepting ballout dollars shouldn't use my money for a trip to a resort for a convention or anything else? I'm sorry, but if tourism is the core of your city's economy you take the good with the bad and don't whine in a down time. There's just more important things to do with whatever public money is available than "resort" it away.

    Need a corporate retreat ? Find a local hotel or Conference center. Better, have everyone show up at headquarters and retreat there. Need to connect with customers, cleints and others - call 'em. video conference them, email 'em and let them know you are saving tax payer money for now and this contact will have to do - for now.

    May 25, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Harvey for Obama

    Obama is president and will be for at least another 4 years. Quit acting like a bunch of highschool kids.

    May 25, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. Sue, Vienna, VA

    As a former life-long Republican (until the 2008 election) I am in awe of the fact that the Republicans cannot see the amount of rancor and pure ignorance that continues to spew forth from their party members. To even partially blame President Obama for "the recent cancellation of hundreds of conventions and other meetings originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas and the loss of more than $100 million in revenue" is totally lunacy! Mr. Gibbons sounds like a spoiled, pouting child refusing to believe that perhaps big business decided to use their better judgement by choosing frugality over opulence in the wake of the country's severe economic downturn. I don't think even President Obama, despite his intelligence and astuteness, has the ability to change the minds of CEO's hell-bent on having fun in Vegas! Some people DO decide to err on the side of caution, That being said, I believe President Obama is much better off NOT meeting with someone of Mr. Gibbons' rationality in this matter. When will these poor Republican nay-sayers get a grip on reality?!

    May 25, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
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