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. Jeff W.

    Can you imagine? You are presented with a fantastic opportunity to meet one of the most important history-in-the-making political figures of our time and you turn down the offer in order to make some stupid political statement. Gov. Jim Gibbons has no idea how foolish he looks. It's for reasons like this that the GOP is dying. I would never give up the opportunity to meet any president, even Bush, one of the worst we've ever had. Gibbons sounds like an 8-year old who didn't get his way in a toy store.

    May 25, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. Suzie McKay

    Governor Gibbons should undo the damage he has done by his own performance as one of the most ineffective and embarassing governors in our state's history. I'm ashamed I voted for him and I am proud to stand up for our new President and Senator Reid. Thankfully, most Nevadans realize the President's remarks concerning Las Vegas were intended as a warning that it will no longer be "business as usual" for large corporations and not as a personal attack on Las Vegas. Too bad our governor is not that intelligent!

    May 25, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Jim Bob

    Real smart Governor, blaming Pres. Obama for the bad Republican economy.

    May 25, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. Mohamed Abdinoor

    I think president Obama should publicly apologize for the remarks he made regarding what the governor cited that Las Vegas lost hundreds of millions of dollars for the cancellation of meetings and conventions that would benefit the state.
    I believe that if the president apologizes, than there would be nothing wrong with the governor and I don't think it is something to do with a party identification or politics whatsoever on the part of the governor.
    I also understand that the president was convincing the public that he is holding accountable for those who take tax payers; money.
    So, Mr. President you have to apologize it. That is all..
    It is not a big deal and from there the governor should not be criticizing the president after apologizing.

    May 25, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Judy

    Well, please pardon me, but, what a dick!!!! He wants an apology?? Typical republican. What about all the other cities in this great country that rely on tourism??? Give me a break....Las Vegas has nothing on New York, Chicago, Miami, LA, etc. I work in the hospitality industry and know how this is impacting us "little people," but let's be real here – it's one thing to have a convention and/or recognition meeting (we in the industry depend on this), but it's another thing for these "big wigs" to spend serious amounts of money on their egos.

    Apology – I think not..the person who shoud be apologizing is you – you're the governor of the State of Nevada and should show more respect to your Commander in Chief, whether or not you agree with his actions! Very poor taste on your part....

    May 25, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Jim C

    No kidding, Vegas vacation is so essential right now that I would also be offended. (sarcasm). Jim Gibbons, I hope you die with your money and greed.

    May 25, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. Larry - Oho

    What an idiot this Governor must be. He turns down an opportunity to meet with the President of the United States of America while the President is visiting his Nevada. He could have turned this situation into a positive and boosted revenue from the President's popularity. He could have gotten the President to encourage others who are not using tax payers money to feel free to visit Las Vegas. But instead he acts like a childish moron and as a result encourages people who were considering Las Vegas as a place to hold their events to avoid this place.

    TOO bad for Lost Vegas

    May 25, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. Ron in Asheville, NC

    Gibbons needs a brain exam. Nevada made itself Nevada: gambling, prostitution and quicky marriages. It wasn't Obama who made it that way . . .

    May 25, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. c.spurgeon

    Another opportunity for a Republican to show the hate, hate hate and political crap rather than anything constructive. I worked for a communications company for many years and they wouldn't allow meetings there because of the image issue even though it would have been cheaper. Can'tn say that was a bad decision as the company is still around. My point is that has always been an issue for Las Vegas. This guy is justy trying to make political hay out of it..Hope the state decides to find a Govenor more interested in state than in politics.

    May 25, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Frank Lee

    Get over it, you big crybaby.

    Of all the losers that Vegas has seen come and go, Jim Gibbons is the biggest.

    Grow up, you pathetic moron.

    May 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. george

    Wha Wha Wha. Whiney Republicans again.

    May 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. matt

    no one know propaganda...they just chant it mindlessly because after all what does "Time for change" and "Yes we can " mean....maybe it would be wise for to only let those who are actually educated in history and law vote....atleast then even radicals would have a mind closer to that of Calhoun or (as much as i dislike) Henry Clay, as i see things unfolding as i told all people they would.....they seem to have forgotten that the things they are telling me i had assured them would happen before the election... they just chose to be unrealistic and rather idealistic ( just to be part of something "great")....i am utterly upset and wish i wouldnt have had to say "i told you so"

    May 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Jason

    Well, chalk this guy up as another idiot Republican.

    May 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Post always rejected by CNN

    Aren't we a petty widdle bitty boy.....The governor's lost. Can you believe the sour grapes of this republican party...The real Americans in this country finally found out what kind of party they were and voted them out of office,

    Now the whinning and spewing members are as I said acting like kids. No ....no they are not. I am sorry, I am dissing kids. Most of those in this country have more class and character than the party of NO SENSE AND NO WERE TO GO.

    May 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. the truth

    the problem with the republicans is that they have so many red necks in them.

    May 25, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Had It

    I certainly don't want someone spending MY tax dollars in Sin City. If they can't find a conference room without slot machines, then maybe the meeting isn't really necessary.

    May 25, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. WOW

    Grow up, Jim.

    May 25, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. tjaman

    I vacationed in Vegas once. It was mostly expensive.

    May 25, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. Mark

    Is the Governor 10 years old?

    May 25, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Liz Hayes from Florida

    Obama does not owe Gov. Gibbons any apology. Prsident Obama was just making a serious statement. He was right. The stimulous money should not be used for such frivilous items such as gambling, when other people are really hurting for food, housing,etc.
    It should be spent on infrastructure,jobs,jobs,jobs, etc. You Mr. Gibbons, are just a typical NO Republican. Making mountains out of molehills. He did not help destroy your state, you, my friend, did that all by yourself. GET A LIFE, AND DO AS THE REST OF US POOR PEOPLE ARE DOING. GRIT YOUR TEETH AND TAKE IT LIKE A MAN.

    May 25, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. BeefMasterX

    Where the hell is spinless Harry? He has an obligation to the voters of Nevada to demand an address of the issue from obama.
    Harry Reid is bad for Nevada, and so is obama.

    May 25, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  22. John E Lexington KY

    The GOP – reduced to petty insults – tried to demonize Bill Clinton and failed with 60% of the public. Why they think they can succeed with Obama with this tactic is they have nothing. They are as empty as a soap bubble and their duration may be as limited.

    May 25, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. Big Ed

    What a tool! Instead of finding commom ground, he would rather take the low road and verbally blast President Obama for the alleged "damage" he did? Where is this joker's outrage with all the crooked and illegal junk "W" did? You can't have it both ways, Governor Crybaby!

    May 25, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Tony - SLC

    The absolute best thing we can do to help those suffering in the depths of recession is to use their tax money to buy luxuries for the wealthy. Period. And anybody who disagrees is a stupid liberal. Good day.

    May 25, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Red

    NO, SORRY – that is MY money that was handed out to those losers and I stand with our President...NO, you CAN'T go to Las Vegas on the taxpayers dime!!!! And what do you think those same Republican Governors would be saying if Obama had said "YEAH – TAKE THOSE TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO VEGAS! ...The American taxpayers will be fine with that!" GET LOST NEVADA – YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A GLUTTONOUS WASTE OF WATER!!

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