May 25th, 2009
09:05 PM ET
5 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. Dwayne

    Again, another Arizona representative hiding racial bias behind politics. What can you say though? The history of the state speaks for itself.

    May 25, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. Steve Slater

    The Republicans just dont get it! .....Its not ok for corperations to spend our tax money on Vegas trips period. The Nevada Governor needs to be ousted.

    May 25, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Kevin--Phoenix AZ

    Geez, is there anything that is not Obama's fault now? I suppose Disney World in Florida had massive layoffs all because President Obama told these greedy corporate jerks to do what everyone else is having to do. It's called living within your means. We're all having to do it, duh. So, snubbing the President, that's really going to help.

    May 25, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Cats

    Hypocracy alert! So using hard earned tax dollars on Vegas junkets that were meant to be used to shore up the banks and prevent a financial collapse caused by the financial "players" at these banks is okay. Wow, I am impressed with the twisted logic there. Shows how far your ethics and ideals take you, Governor Gibbons.

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    the Nevada gov needs to get a brain.... what a jerk!

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Smart People

    Another pissy republican screaming about nothing. I guess the base will be happy. What's left of it that is.

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. judy in Az

    Good for Gov. Gibbons. Enough snubs and maybe "The One" will get the idea that millions in the U.S. are not happy with his policies, his decisions and the bloating of Federal government .We have not been nor will we be persuaded by or impressed with his "gift" of public speaking. We intend to ensure that he's one term president.

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. hages

    Heaven help us . . . are these infantile republican leaders truly the best and brightest we can come up with?? Was this guy actually elected??? So sorry for you Nevada! Does your governor actually believe the taxpayer bailout check should be spent on casino vacations for the corporate elite?? I'm sorry for anyone's unemployment for sure, but geeeeeeez, c'mon!!!!!

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. Paul

    Governor, you of all people should talk. Why don't you look into your slimy past as governor.

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. anthony

    So does the Republican governor support wasting taxpayers' money? Did Obama call for all companies to boycott Las Vegas? No, only the companies that could not survive without a federal bailout should not use taxpayers' money to send their executives to vacation in Las Vegas. What is wrong with that?

    May 25, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Robert

    So if I have this right THIS idiot Governor wants Obama to allow companies that are broke and need OUR money to come to Vegas and blow OUR money gambling. I see the Republicans have no intention of helping fix the mess THEY created over 8 years and this idiot is a prime example of why and how the created such a mess. Anyone who votes Republican is a fool.

    Ex-Republican

    May 25, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. proud army navy mom

    Gibbons is the gov that is being sued for assaulting a stripper, isn't he? He's also being sued for divorce by his wife. Nice guy

    May 25, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. Bob Millard

    We desperately need to truly mature and sseriously consider what is best for our country and not selfishly be absorbed with our own parochial interests. Our economy is such that it must be our number one priority.

    May 25, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. joanne fry

    governor,could it possibly be because people just dont have money to gamble with? I am a taxpayer and I do not want anybody flying to vegas on my dime which is just about all most of us have.those high rollers flying their corporate jets were not the only ones keeping vegas going.most of your business probably came from middle or low income tourist anyway.

    May 25, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. stormerF

    Obama is two faced,and Hooray for the Governor...Obama has suspended off shore drilling,and keeps saying lets get off foreign oil,but we will rely on oil and gas for the next 40 years to drive our transportation and energy.....Why has Obama suspended off shore drilling? To drive up the cost of gas ? to Create a shortage of Gasoiline? To make his Administration's decision to force us to drive smaller cars look better?Why has Obama Suspended off shore drilling???????

    May 25, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Charlie

    Waaaaaa. I guess not accepting invitations from the president is the new thing to do. It's funny how you can blame a president for lack of tourism when it's peoples' realization that the Vegas lifestyle is what's bringing Amuuurica down. Mainly because they can't afford the ridiculousness.

    May 25, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. tiffany

    So what, who cares. No one is going to cry because the governor refuses to meet with President Obama.

    May 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. marcus

    i have to say, having voted for obama, that i completely understand the governor's issue, although i doubt he'd have had the same reaction if a republican president had made the statement.

    May 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. Steve

    Right on! Hit the nail on the head

    May 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. brazen be thy name

    Imagine the President saying, "I apologize to all the residents of Nevada. I would like the CEOs of companies to take their bailout money, their stimulus money, and go gambling in Vegas baby!"

    C'mon this guy can't be serious can he? Where does the Republican party find these people?

    May 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. mimi from ga

    To blame the President of the United States for Las Vegas' loss of revenue in this recession and rebuff his offer to meet reaffirms the delusional, blame the current president for this economic mess that he did not create, name calling, mean spirited, supposedly Christian, yet undeniably nasty group of people that pollute the republican party. Our country needs our unity, not your divisiveness and hopes that our county fails. For ALL of our citizens, we need to PRAY that President Obama is successful!

    May 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. alvino

    Now that is a stretch Gibbons thinks business leaders getting bail out money should be allowed to use corporate jets to go to Vegas.

    May 25, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. Carolyn

    I don't see how President Obama has hurt anyone, he did nothing but speak the truth and some politicians just can't handle the word truth, it's simply not in their vocabulary. You can't solve anything if you don't talk; the airport could have been a beginning.

    May 25, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Ina Connolly

    Sour grapes from Gov. Gibbons. If the bailout money hadn't had strings attached to it (like accountability), one can assume he would have gladly met for a handshake. From appearances, this governor is more interested in his personal CYA policy – unless he has some other prejudicial excuse.

    May 25, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. Jessica

    Yes, Governor Gibbons, I'm sure the crash of the economy had nothing to do with the drop in Nevada tourism. No, no – it was all due to some vaguely relevant comment by President Obama. This guy is the governor? He could use some help with his powers of deduction.

    May 25, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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