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. Denna

    Oh, boo hoo. So you're going to try to undo the damage the President did? I am assuming that you mean Bush, right? All President Obama has been trying to do since he was inaugurated is to turn this country around and make her great again. People like you make me sick. All he asked is that, since you are using taxpayer money, you be a bit frugal? Could you be losing convention business because of the ECONOMY?????

    May 25, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. Michael

    What a joke!, I thought the GOP were suppose to be for fiscal responsibiltiy. However, I know that had President Obama not said this policy, they would be attacking him for being too lenient on Wall Street. Furthermore I guess people going to Las Vegas couldn't fly commercial air. I guess the governor still doesn't get it. I wonder why those people could not fly commercial? Hmm, I wonder if they are better then the rest of us, the answer is NO. Let's see here. 1)President Obama wants the companies who were begging for money, to not spend it on junkets (good idea). and 2), this Governor upset at these corporations not being able to spend the tax payers money on going to the superbowl. Hmm, I wonder how he would have felt had the event been in Denver, or Atlanta, or somewhere else.

    May 25, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. Missy in KY

    Nevada, it's time for a new governor. When election time rolls around again, Governor Gibbons needs to be voted out. This shows this man is just all about politics, not the people.

    May 25, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Stu-Florida

    Just like all other Republicans... it's all President Obamas fault.
    What a bunch of choudes.
    It's the economy STUPID!! Maybe he should consider running in Alaska! He's gotn the "mind"set of a Palin...

    May 25, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. ZAch

    The leader of Sin City wants Obama apologize for telling corporate big wigs to stop being greedy and spending bail out money on parties? Well i am sorry if Nevada is hurting but i have to agree with the president on this one....

    May 25, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |

    Dear Gov. Gibbons,
    Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that companies simply cannot use taxpayer bailout money to fund trips for themselves to your state. President Obama found it necessary to explain this to these what-planet-are-they-from businesspeople. You apparently are a what-planet-are-you-from politician who cannot seem to comprehend that taxpayers are not going to support junkets to Las Vegas that have been paid with tax dollars. It is not President Obama's fault; it is simply the way it is. Please try to get past your hissy fit and greet the president of your country as you should.

    May 25, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Adam Connecticut

    So Obama is supposed to be ashamed for telling companies who took our tax payer money not to use it on perks for the CEO's. As an unfortunate side effect which is not necessarily even related to that statement, Las Vegas took a hit in tourism income. Well it is a recession, isn't that expected? I suppose the good thing for Obama to have done in that situation would be to tell CEO's whose companies are taking TARP money to go ahead and let their executives spend it on hookers and booze in Vegas. If you want to provide constructive criticism of the Obama administration you should go for it, but this is pretty weak sauce here. Am I supposed to be angry at Obama for saying the bailout money should be used for its intended purpose instead of partying in Vegas?

    May 25, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. sorensen

    Screw Gibbons – indeed – he just did thgat to himself.
    Forget Nevada – and all the trash.

    May 25, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. Stu in Las Vegas

    Jim "Gibbo the Clown" Gibbons is a disgrace to all Nevadan's !!

    But that's okay though, that womanizing rethug won't be in charge much longer.

    May 25, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. Gregory

    Embattled Republican Governor -vs- Popular Democratic President= Who needs who the most? I rest my case!!

    May 25, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. Byron

    why do politicians disrepect the president?... Some do not even want a handshake? Is it politics or more than that?

    May 25, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. newsjunkie, nj

    The president was absolutely right to ask businesses getting bail-out money from the government to spend it responsibly. Granted, working families in Las Vegas & Reno (let's face it, the rest of Nevada isn't losing tourists who wouldn't be going there anyway) are caught in the middle and getting hurt, but then the same could be said for almost any other destination city: Orlando, Atlantic City, Branson, San Diego, Aspen, etc., etc.

    If you give a panhandler some money, you hope he/she will use the money for a sandwich. Many of us who have given the occasional handout tell the person they're giving money to that's what should be done with the money. If you give someone free money, you don't want them buying crack with it.

    It's bad enough our tax dollars are going to prop up businesses that are failing. We should be able to have some influence on how that money is used.

    May 25, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. joe Moise

    Do not blame the president. Blame the economy and the money guzzling Executives who cause the the downturn.

    May 25, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. Hope

    I just dont understand some logic.

    May 25, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. Lupe Ramos

    I am sure the Governor is upset becuase the Democrat President won the election, I am also sure he is more upset because the President did not acknowledge his Fox News tea bag party which was protest towards President Obama winning the election. What happened to statesmanship and respect? Why does the GOP call liberals biiter?

    May 25, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  16. Crazy!

    Where were all of these crazy people when the last administration was creating this mess. I am in total agreement that the leaders of this nation should not be taking vacations, going to elaborate conventions with my taxpayers money. Thank God for a president that is making these crooks accountable. Stay at home if you do not want to meet your president. He will continue to do the great job he is doing.

    May 25, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  17. Lori

    Oh my gosh. Is this joker for real? Let's talk about hypocrisy, shall we... YOUR Republican allies- the Republicans and George W Bush ran this country into the ground for the last 8 years, while NOT ONE REPUBLICAN OBJECTED TO BUSH'S POLICIES and all of a sudden it's President Obama's fault your economy is in shambles because of a statement he made. Mr. Gibbons, our President is not your 'boy' and he doesn't have to do a darn thing you ask him to do. The Republicans are fundraising so I guess they shouldn't either in Nevada because of the recession. Keep on fundraising, Mr. President. Taking political advice from a Republican is like taking sobriety classes from a crackhead.

    May 25, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Steve from Florida

    This guy is a freakin' idiot!!!

    May 25, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. Maria

    Las Vegas is losing money because PEOPLE HAVE NO MONEY TO GAMBLE. *Every* tourist place is losing money right now. This governor needs to stop whining.

    May 25, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Fitz in Texas

    I think as time goes by more and more people will not be interested in a "handshake and a hello from President Obama".

    May 25, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. Indiana Mike

    Does Gov. Gibbons know the economy is in the tank? Maybe that's why nobody is going to Vegas. Gibbons is trying to tie a single comment that the President made to the recent down turn of Las Vegas. Sounds political to me.

    May 25, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. spacewriter

    Perhaps the honorable governor of Nevada should apologize to the rest of us for encouraging wealthy bankers to use taxpayer dollars to come lose that money in Vegas. People should go to Vegas on their own dime - not with taxpayer bailout money.

    Shame on this dick of a politician - he doesn't care for what's ethical, does he?

    May 25, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. dave

    This guy does not have a clue, embarrasing the potus is not a good move.

    May 25, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. John Colson

    Give me a break! Get rid of the ego and accept the new age of politics and greet the man who has done more in his first 100 days then all most all past presidents in the 21st century. Maybe your time has come. Step aside oe join the movement!

    May 25, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  25. babs

    Obama happens to be correct! Too bad for this governor. Ya can't please everyone but you gotta please yourself, to quote Rick Nelson.

    And add stabilizing your nation's crazy financial executives....not catchy but the truth.

    May 25, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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