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. Jason

    He really believes Pres. Obama caused the downfall? How sad! GROW UP!!!

    May 25, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. cha cha

    Dear Rebecca Sinderbrand – you refer to the governor as the "republican governor". What didn't you refer to Obama as the "democrat president " ?

    May 25, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. Obama is not my Hero

    Wow! This guy has some balls!

    May 25, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. Rose

    Give me a break! The Gov needs to be polite and show some respect. Oh brother...what a sore-loser.

    May 25, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    If he won't do a sit-down meeting, I'm not meeting him at the airport! What grade is Gibbons in - third?

    May 25, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. David

    Great Job Jim–keep it up.

    May 25, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. cha cha

    Lets remind Rebecca Sinderbrand that Obama may be "the" president but for most of us now he is not "our" president. Big difference.

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

    What a jerk! It's the President of the United States! This is why people don't like Republicans.

    May 25, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. alex

    Time to dump the Country's load of nuclear waste in Nevada afterall.

    Take that Mr. Hyper-sensitive. The 30% conservative vote must be so impressed with you and your "no can do" attitude.

    May 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. John-Black Hills/SD

    I can understand the Governor's reaction, but he should have made the point he felt he owed the citizens of Nevada, then he should have shown the graciousness of Nevada and accepted the invitation. That would have shown professionalism, something American politics is lacking.
    I believe the Governor should consider hiring new advisers because this was an opportunity lost. This does highlight the fact that influential politicians behave more like children, and we wonder how things got so bad.

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

    In response to this comment...

    "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"

    I don't read anything that merits an apology. The President is making a point directed at the big money CEO's. Maybe the governor should apologize for not doing a better job managing the economy of his state. Lighten up Frances...ah, Jim.

    May 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. Ken

    Typical GOP whiner. They destroy the country, then try to blame it on Obama. And on top of that, they have absolutely NO CLASS. Turning down an invite from the President of the United States? More of the same from the shallow, selfish GOP. So predictable by now that it's not even worth the news coverage.

    May 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. Ann

    What hipocrisy

    I thought the Republicans believed in old fashioned respect for office and authority. We are all refusing excesses and the governor has and nerve to refuse to greet our President

    what a hypocrite. what will you tell your children about morality and respect

    the moral majority is neither

    My mother would be ashamed of you

    what about your mother or does she care?

    a concerned preschool teacher and entreprenuer

    May 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. Griffin

    I'm sure President Obama genuinely don't want to shake the hands of a republican, anyway.

    May 25, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. chacha

    Wow, what a sore loser. Did he expect the President to condone lavish behaviors with companies in bankruptcy, laying people off?

    Anyway, Nevada's drop in tourism has little to do with the President's comments. It has to do with the hugs real estate bubble, and the fact that people don't have the money to go gamble or vacation in Vegas right now.

    Serious ridiculousness from Jim Gibbons.

    May 25, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Chandler

    The Nevada Governor is a scorpion! The President was right in saying companies taking bailout money should be using it for any kind of corporate get aways.

    May 25, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. ron

    you have to love the states. you are all patriotic until a black man is voted into office. lol reminds me of a old saying if your black don't let the sun set on you here. good old usa.

    BTW vegas I am sending this blog to everyone I know, good luck getting anyone to spend money in your racist state.

    May 25, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Jorgor Barrie

    No matter how offended you may be Mr. Governor, in this nick of time, the President is absolutely right: companies that received taxpayer-funded bailouts must avoid wasting money on luxuries like company planes and Vegas vacations. It is these sort of wasteful spending that has put the US and the world at large in this finacial melt-down in the first place.

    I think you owe the President an apology for not honouring his invitation to meet him. He is after all your president as well. The American people (the people you help govern) voted overwhelmingly for him last November.

    May 25, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Patriot for Change

    Thank you for reminding us that gambling with tax payer dollars are not easy decisions for the Administration. Instead of divisiveness remarks, the Governor should pressure his own administration to take advantage of any way to positively market the opportunities Nevada offers.

    With these comments, it's still a gamble to visit there in my opinion!

    May 25, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. Richard

    I guess Gibbons likes wasting taxpayers money.

    May 25, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. Seattle Sue

    The Governor of Nevada and the Mayor of Las Vegas must be taking the same smart pills. I listened to that statement President Obama made and he did not single out Las Vegas, he meant that these companies should not be partying at the taxpayers expense. He also included super bowl games. You have to really be dumb to not understand what he said.

    May 25, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Pauline

    What a trivial dude. Grow up!!

    May 25, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  23. Justin

    Who cares? Gibbons is just another republican idiot who'll be out of a job after the next election. Obama looks good for at least making the effort.

    May 25, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. joe blow

    is this a joke - i remember seeing the smarmy mayor of las vegas complaining about this when the comment was made by obama. sorry, idiots, but your business is down because republicans caused a depression. wake up.

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

    If this republican governor of Vegas was just a regular citizen,
    of lets say, Florida – Im sure that he would also think
    that companies receiving bailouts money shouldnt spend money
    on luxuries and trips to vegas.

    This is just common sense.

    But as the world is, we have individual interests,
    and this guy s interest is in having people spend money in vegas.

    May 25, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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