May 25th, 2009
09:05 PM ET
6 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. Jim

    Shouldn't a high school diploma be one of the minimum requirements to run for Governor of one of our states?

    May 25, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. zalgo

    can you blame him? If Obama so much as invited me to the Whitehouse for dinner I'd have to respectfully decline and maybe grab some takeout on the way home.

    May 25, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Ronald Clowney

    Now how do Gov. Gibbons intend on getting an apology from Pres. Obama? Facebook? Playing tit-for-tat with the President of the United States is childish. The President can apologize when he is good and ready. Now that he is ready, the governor should meet the President at the airport and accept an apology like we teach our children to do.

    May 25, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. JN

    Trust me national readers, our governor is known for doing stupid things so this is nothing new for him. Every fool with a smack of sense knows that Obama was alluding to companies that abused stimulus money shouldn't be doing so in Las Vegas....anywhere. It's stupid to blame our cities loss of business on Obama.

    May 25, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Clay

    No great loss. All he would do is beg for money anyway, then turn around and blame Obama for whatever was contained in the GOP's talking points for the day.

    May 25, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    Grow up, Governor. Your President asks to meet you, you put on a suit and a tie and you go shake his hand.

    May 25, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Larry W

    Love these guys. They just hate welfare, unless it is welfare to companies who then spend on gambling, liquor and prostitutes in Vegas, all while taking such expenses off their tax liabilities as the cost of doing business.

    Maybe the gov should try getting an honest and productive job, instead of pimping.

    May 25, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Andrew

    Bull. Obama's comments were right on...its not his fault that LasVegas is a playground the the rich and the loose with money.

    May 25, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. abbigale

    Rude and crude! The Gov. of Nevada is following party line...blaming the president for the downturn in the gambling town of Vegas! Look around Governor....notice that there is a HugE downturn everywhere? Businesses closing? Dealerships evaporating? Homes being foreclosed? And you think that it should be business as usual in Vegas ? I dont think so! It is you that owes the President an apology.
    But then you are part of the GOP....I forgot you all don't get it! You just don't understand how sick we are of the constant vitriolic attacks...the poisonous words and the total lack of class! If it's not President Obama you're attacking, your goon squad is after General Powell !
    You just don't get it!

    May 25, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Sach

    the governor is stuped. Obama's comments were right on.
    Why should taxpayers pay for there vacations.

    May 25, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Dave T

    Oh, Jim. Obama's comments are not the cause of the failure of Las Vegas and Nevada. Try instead companies being broke, a housing/mortgage industry run amok and a nation that just doesn't have the time, money or inclination to play in Las Vegas right now. Relax, they'll be back when the storm has passed.

    May 25, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. Jim Gibbons

    Jim Gibbons is a turd.

    May 25, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. LikingThisChange

    Get over it! So we should bail them out in order to let them blow on Vegas vacations? Get real.

    May 25, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. Jim

    Wow! My seven year old daughter is more mature than the Governor of Nevada!

    May 25, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Honestly. Get serious. Obama wasn't telling legitimate people, so to speak, not to go to Vegas. He was saying "Do not use the money given to you by the Feds, for bailout, on corporate jets and junkets to Vegas." I believe he was saying that the monies should be put to good use to recover in this economy. And regardless of Las Vegas and it's pull on conventions, etc., it isn't the WISEST way to use money – in the gambling casinos. C'mon. Get with reality. And, if your company received a federal bailout, then that money is not for a convention in Vegas (or anywhere, for that matter, where lots of money is being spent). Stay home one year and do your jobs. Save money.

    May 25, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  16. Texas G

    It's the narrow mindedness and self serving actions such as displayed by the Governor of Nevada by not accepting Pres Obama's gractious invitation that will help insure the demise of the Republican Party. Thanks for the help Governor!

    May 25, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. Richard White

    Boo Hoo, Governor.

    May 25, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. john thuko

    So this is what America is coming to? A governor gets mad because the cittizens refuse to bank-roll some CEO's expensive lifestyle?...what will he ask for next, we buy them suits and help them remodel their vacation homes?
    The President wasn't advocating against going to Vegas, just for them to go on their own dime!

    May 25, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. Parisa

    Give me a break! Obama didn't cause the decline of Las Vegas tourism. Las Vegas is a luxury. Look around Governor no one is traveling anywhere. NO ONE HAS DISPOSABLE income. For godsake I can get a $400 ticket to Germany in June and July. Things are bad everywhere. His declination makes him look like an idiot.

    May 25, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. Mark

    What a cry-baby!
    And how arrogant to blame the President on the convention downturn....it's amusing to see people do a "six degrees of separation" from the President for all the ills of the country.

    The President was correct....those fat cats who robbed us over the past few years have no right to take Vegas trips (and they do). He was not telling anyone to stop visitng LV...just don't expect to attend a convention on the taxpayer's dime. This idiot governor can't seem to make that distinction.

    By the by, my company cancelled LAST YEAR and THIS YEAR due to the downturn in real estate.....it had NOTHING to do with the President.

    May 25, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. Rich

    If Obama's point was to say that Las Vegas sucked, Gibbons would have a point, but it wasn't and he knows it. To try and paint Obama's criticism of these executives as some sort of regional slight is ridiculous. I bet he was screaming about pigs and lipstick last year too.

    May 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. TRW

    Governor Gibbons - you had an opportunity to discuss your concern, face to face, with the President, and try to find a way to resolve the problem. You decided that rather than trying to SOLVE the problem you complain of, you'd rather try to make some political capital from it. In doing so, you insulted the President of the United States and showed yourself to be not a statesman, but a politician. You are an idiot! A real leader solves problems rather than exacerbates them. I've been to Las Vegas before, and hope to go again. I will NOT go again as long as you are Governor of Nevada.

    May 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  23. NEVADA JOE

    This Republican NUTJOB needs to get thrown out the door along with Reid and Ensign...Another one of these guys who cant keep his zipper up...

    May 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    More asinine whining from a Republican politician. The President clearly said "on the taxpayer's dime."

    After listening to them twist EVERYTHING into a major partisan issue for the last five months it's hard not to write it all off as sore losers' sour grapes.

    May 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  25. Lu

    Twit. Did he ever consider the idea that many companies are suffering financially and cannot afford to throw big parties these days? Just as many of us can't afford to travel for fun right now?

    And does Gibbons really think that it is appropriate to snub the president, instead of speaking to him about his constituents' concerns? The governor needs to grow up.

    And the whole Republican party needs to quit having temper tantrums over the current financial situation, when they are the ones who caused it.

    May 25, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
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