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. Kyle Muncie, Indiana

    Nevada's governor is a horrible leader – it is obvious through his refusal to meet Obama and his veto of domestic partnerships. He makes the state of Nevada look dumb

    May 25, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  2. Robin

    Get a grip Governor.......did anyone tell you there is a recession going on? Maybe the Presidents remarks were not exactly helpful, BUT I think it is in very poor taste to refuse to meet with the President of the United States of America.

    Shame on you Governor! Maybe if you met with him, you might get him to issue a retraction, or at least clarify what he said about Las Vegas.

    Just a thought.

    May 25, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. Sam

    I think all the big guys with there taxpayer funded airplanes need to stay grounded! Man this economy is in dire striaghts thanks to big corporate gurus who think there stuff dont stink. Well boy do I have news for them. Its stinks to high heaven and if they dont turn things around we are all in for a real messy time. Welcome all you big bussiness tycoons to the day of "MAKE DO"! Find some common ground with your common man and start living like you should not like you think your supposed to. I am Very proud of what our commander in chief is doing for this country. You know as well as I do he wouldnt have to be spending as much to pull this country back together, but thanks to the our prior so called leaders we dont have any other choice. So I think it is wrong for the Gov. of Nevada to turn down an opportunity to meet with the president of this great country to discuss ideas to make things better!
    I guess the vision of some only goes so far. Thank you for this opportunity to speak my piece.

    May 25, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. Johnny DC

    Perfectly sensible argument to make. This comment was another hastily-made comment by the President to sound affable and responsible in front of cameras, with his usual lack of real substance or thought behind what implications it actually had.

    "It's time to stop vacationing in Vegas..... oh wait, does that have an adverse effect on a state... say, Nevada? No comment."

    May 25, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. steve

    This guy, and the football player last week, need to realize that, despite everything else, Obama is the President. He's the leader of the free world and should be treated with respect. Turning down invitations to the White House does not affect the President; it does, however, make them look ignorant.

    May 25, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Scott

    Gibbons not only has to worry about Obama, he should also be concerned with the Domestic Partner program his state wants to roll out. Veto it as he has said he would and the gay tourists that the casinos have been courting will take their money elsewhere also. Hmm, if he is really concerned about his state – step up to the plate and be a man.

    May 25, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. dave

    sigh...not another idiot. When will people grow up?

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

    EVERYONE knows that a trip to Las Vegas is not cheap. Generally speaking people take their "extra" income to gamble in LV knowing full well that they will probably never see that money again. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that in hard times such trips are the first to be cut from ones budget. Las Vegas is also a popular place for meetings and conventions and, with so many companies having to cut back, those are also cut.

    Blaming this President for the damage to the Las Vegas economy is just plain politics! Now the Governor knows how so many American families are feeling who have lost their jobs and can't pay their bills. The differance is that they didn't build mega-million dollar hotels and casinos that they couldn't afford. Americans know that what $ goes to Las Vegas STAYS in Las Vegas and they choose to keep it home!!

    May 25, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. Joanna

    Way to twist the presidents words!! Obama tried to give the wall street banker a firm talking to about there greed with our money by saying no fancy trips with the tax payers money... Now the Nevada governor is blaming obama for there hard times? Should we all pay for banker to go on trips now. Should Obama say, sorry banker, have a vaca on us for trouble?!

    May 25, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Mike in NYC

    Asking for an apology from the Great One is definitely a serious violation of some unspoken rule, no doubt soon to be codified into law.

    It really was foolish of BO to mention a specific city. His otherworldly wisdom must have suffered a brief lapse.

    May 25, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. m

    what an idiot! Just go and tell the President to his face...coward....

    May 25, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Alex

    this gibbons guy sounds like an idiot. if my taxpayer dollars have to go to these companies, i want them using it to revive the company, not taking trips to vegas. im sorry but that just seems like common sense to me.

    May 25, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Carl Justus

    If he does not want to meet Obama that is his business. Obama is responsible for ALL America, not just some republican state that wants everybody to come and gamble so he can get his campaign coffers filled to the brim with out of state cash.

    He may could help himself if he would say they should store the nuclear waste in the underground mansion the federal government built for it with taxpayer money that went to mostly Nevada workers.

    May 25, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Good going, Gov. It's good to see there are still republicans who will stand up to the media and their presidential creation.

    May 25, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. Tulsa L

    Obama does not need to say he is sorry for telling the big companys that have received tax payers money that they can not be buying jets and sending their whole office to some exotic vacation.........they needed our money to bail them out of the mess they got them selfs into so they can not now spend it foolishly ......... and this Republican Govenor might as well kiss his @#!ss goodbye......

    May 25, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. Phil Muse

    President Obama should not apologize to Governor Gibbons about his earlier remarks concerning corporate jets and Vegas junkets for bailed-out companies. The "sin city" image has been Las Vegas' big drawing card in flush times, including gambling casinos, legalized prostitution (including gigolos for the ladies), and semi-nude showgirls. (It has also provided the means for washed-up singers and entertainers to prolong their careers with a "Vegas opening"). We need to face the cold slap of reality: those flush times are gone, baby! The state of Nevada will need to diversify its economy or else dwindle in importance, and Gibbons doesn't want to face it.

    May 25, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. ol cranky

    what a schmuck. Obama did not tell people to stop going to Nevada on vacation nor did he insist that no company hold a legitimate conference or meeting there; what he did was telling companies that were bailed out not to have unnecessary junkets for senior execs.

    May 25, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Chut Pata

    So the Republican Governor, a party that champions religeous values, has a problem with Obama advicing executive to cut down their visits to the sin city.

    The Christian governor wants people to come to the sin city, gamble the money that belongs to them (nor not belongs to them), wreck their marriages and screw the lives of their kids. Bravo to this brand of Christianity.

    May 25, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  19. Steve in ORD

    I think that Gov. Gibbons needs to worry not about what Obama said but the fact that hotel room rates in LAS were *already* hitting $50-60 per night before the comments were made. I think that he's just trying to capitalize on a generalized statement that was made.

    He needs to grow up and take the lead for his states shortcomings - NOT pass blame to someone else and expect them to "fix it."

    May 25, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. Jason

    What a loser. I'm so sick of Republicans acting like children.

    May 25, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Jamie

    Not only do I find it interesting that a Republican ("family values" being one of their mantras), is the governor of a state that makes its money from excess alcohol consumption, gambling, and sex, I find it even more peculiar that she would be upset that someone was touting financial responsibility. Not spending taxpayer money on Vegas trips sounds eminently sane to me. On the other hand, maybe her staying home will save a few bucks too.

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

    Jim Gibbons is a sleazebag of the first order. Nevada should be ashamed of itself that this adulterer is still their governor. I will never go to that God forsaken state again. Put Yucca Mountain in place of the governor's mansion.

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Grow up!

    Seriously. Here's an idea from adult-land: Meet with the President when he invites you and let him know you are concerned how some of his recent comments have had unintended consequences. Is that too much to ask of a governor, for Pete's sake? At what point are we, as Americans, going to finally get leaders that act like adults, put their constituents before party and actually lead? What a disgrace of Governor Gibbons to take advantage of a difficult time to advance the party mantra rather than taking advantage of an opportunity to really lead and rise above the petty. Pathetic.

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. Ruty

    Jim Gibbons sounds like a horses ass.

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. William Archer

    The downward spiral of the Republicans continues with this classless act by Gov Gibbons. I wonder, did Gibbons accept any of the tainted Obama stimulus money for Nevada?

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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