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. matt

    i applaud you governor in making your point but i do not wish that where the presidents intentions are good should people go against him...i dont like what Obama represents...(another step foward in the grotesque acceptance of underdogs and second best)....soon we will have a gay president and sink further into godlessness and folly..."open minded" is just another term for gullible....and only people moved by enthusiasm (unfortunately most americans) can applaud the state of our once precious America of Washington, Jeffereson, and Jackson, Adams, Webster, Hamilton, Franklin...i wish Democrats stayed Republican and Federalist remained....but thats all gone thanks to the embryo of the Whigs and "New Democrats"....and it all started with propaganda...with Log Cabin Campaigns and Tippicanoe and Tyler seems the inch became a mile...and im quite sure our founding fathers would not be happy.....

    May 25, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Salvatore Paradise

    Oh I'm sure the insolent Republican governor of Nevada would just love it if bailed out executives were still gambling taxpayer dollars in his money-pit of a state. Perhaps if Nevada had some more redeemable quality to it, like say I don't know, anything other than being in the business of fleecing gamblers, perhaps then we wouldn't mind if government funded CEO's were spending taxpayer bailout money there on things like, clean energy initiatives, or global poverty initiatives, or gainful employment conventions.

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

    children, children. grow up.

    your immature antics make me puke.

    this to both parties.

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

    Like it or not, Pres. Obama was speaking the truth given the circumstances. When your company is bleeding red ink and you're standing there begging for a government handout, you don't send your top execs on a Vegas junket. Period. What is it with the GOP? It's going out of its way to cut itself off from the mainstream in the government with actions like these - petty, vindictive and infantile. Well, boo hoo. Take your marbles, then, and go home if you don't want to play.

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

    How about this Gov. Gibbons....

    We The People, are asking you...telling you...begging not waste our money on your personal luxuries

    If you deem a jet as necessary for the employees and for the overall company benefit, sure why not get a jet....but the minute we see you using it to travel to vacation, golf courses, or a sex can kiss your office goodbye.

    Get your priorities many salaries are worth cutting before letting one jet go out of a fleet?

    May 25, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. alvino

    Blaming the president for the last 8 years is a bit hypocritical.

    May 25, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. boudin

    good for the governor for not being Obamarized.

    May 25, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. HC Republican

    Jim Gibbons is one of the most corrupt politicians in the US. Who really cares what he thinks??

    May 25, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Scott Alexander

    What a whiner. CEOs were being unethical and using corporate money to take pleasure trips to Vegas and the Governor of that state is upset that Obama spoke the truth about it.

    I doubt Obama's the deciding reason of whether or not people visit Vegas. This Governor needs to grow up. And the Obama administration just needs to learn to stop reaching out to the GOP. That party has serious problems and the Democrats would be smart to just let the Republicans self-destruct on their own.

    May 25, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. sprkl12000

    While I appreciate the Gov. giving Obama a "God-like" quality, I hardly think that many people even knew about the statement Obama made and if they did, THAT is the reason they cancelled....probably a bad economy more than a statement that EVERYONE understood...

    Obama is flying into Nevada..that's all the publicity they should apology needed...grow up folks...

    May 25, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Terry

    When has a Governor of any state turned down an invitation to meet and greet a president. Please report if any exist so that is does not look like it is race based. We better wake up and see what is really happening. All the challenges that the president is receiving from other political figures is not only due to party affiliation. Try to compare some of the rejections to other presidents and see how much of this you find. When I say wake up, I mean it is still a struggle for the acceptance of an African American in that role. We better deal with this and let these leaders know the role credibility is more important than the person holding it. If that role is diminished as some are trying to do, then were all in trouble. Wake up America

    May 25, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. no sympathy

    no, you CAN'T take a trip to vegas on my dollar. you absolutely can take a trip to vegas or anywhere else you want to go on YOUR dollar. the governor should stop blaming the President for the problems these big businesses have caused themselves. if they hadn't squandered all their money on themselves, they wouldn't have to borrow money. my president had BETTER set limitations on that money. that's exactly what i hired him to do.

    May 25, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. Mark

    Wow, the Republicans are so bitter and they ran the country for 8 years and trashed it. Now they are complaining. Shame on them. Obama did not create the bad economic climate. Let's see Bush and the Republicans were in charge. So Mr. Governor, use some brain power and place the blame for your state directly on Bush and your party.

    May 25, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. chicago4obama

    Another Republican idiot.

    May 25, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. Heath

    Nevada has a small-minded governor if he thinks snubbing the President will in any way help his state. Vegas vacations are seen by all as luxuries, and his ire that the US taxpayers might not pay for them in the future is pretty childish.

    It's a new day, gov. Wake up.

    May 25, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. bob from Oregon

    What an idiot. Regardless of his politics, he still represents his state, a state in the United States of America of whom, Barack Obama is the President. It's called "Courtesy".
    Typical Republi-Con. Too bad you've been listening to Dick Cheney. Pretty soon, you'll just be a footnote in history, and a small one at that!

    May 25, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. BD

    Tell the guv to get over himself. Whatever side of the aisle you're on, President Obama didn't personally cause tourism dollars to dry up for Las Vegas or any place else. Businesses that are failing should NOT be laying out cash for executive junkets anywhere; and certainly shouldn't be doing so on the taxpayers' dime.

    May 25, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Sharyn in ATL

    Gibbons should be ashamed of himself. If he bothered listening to what Obama said and the point of it – and if he spent more time and energy focusing on his state's residents instead of engaging in the petty bickering – he would see that Obama is focusing on helping everyone in the country, not just casino owners. Obama criticized going to the Super Bowl but you don't see the NFL demanding that he promote football. What a doofus.

    May 25, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Bob Platts

    once again We see a prime example of the juvenile state of Republican politics and politicians. As a party they have accomplished 8 years of nothing of worth, are petty, vindictive and have no relevant platform, or economic policy. They are all bluster, foul wind and obstruction.

    May 25, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. lucretia

    Barry Obama is a loose cannon. He was not properly vetted by CNN and other leftist organizations. They wanted to be sure he was elected regardless of anything that may have disqualified him. So now we have this enormous domestic and national security risk sitting in the Oval Office. The Obamst toadies are now cued to start squilling "boosh" its "booshes fault", yack, yack, yack.

    May 25, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Buddy Gilmour

    Sorry Governor, I'm with the President on this, I also don't want CEOs of bailed-out companies flying to Vegas for lap-dances etc on my "nickel".

    May 25, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Flex

    Religious zealots disgust me, and I don't like Republicans. But, I agree with the Nevada governor. Obama has no business admonishing corporate executives for flying into major cities, and dumping a lot of money into the local economy.

    It was a stupid thing for Obama to say!

    May 25, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. nate

    I guess it is very easy to blame someone else.

    May 25, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Fordy

    I agree with the governor. Executives should be allowed to use taxpayers money anyway they chose to. Casino gambling, expensive hotels, anything.

    May 25, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Tom

    Does this strike anyone as a role reversal? The Democrat President saying no to the wasting of taxpayer money and the Republican Governor pointing out that spending taxpayer money boosts the overall economy.

    May 25, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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