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. MJH

    So big government is ok as long as it channels money to Nevada?

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. FleetFootNC

    Although President Obama's words were hurtful, he had nothing to do with Las Vegas' hard times. Americans are less likely to travel there because of the bad economy all over. Plus, many who are still able to go are rethinking the type of excessive spending that drew them there. The governor should get over it and try to diversify the state's economy.

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. mo

    Wow, I guess Nevada's rePIGlican Governor is a sorry excuse to waste time around. oh well, go kiss some ....... don't worry i am respectful enough to not get to that point in my language. oh well your its your loss after all.

    May 25, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    I am sure the President, as well a I, would like an apology from the republicans who created this massive recession in the first place.

    The only thing that is going to promote tourism is getting rid of THE PARTY OF NO and moving on.

    What a jerk.

    May 25, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. glenn

    The gov needs to get over himself. hmmmm maybe if he had met with the President, he would have gotten his apology. as for what the President said. I agree, if companies get tax dollar bailouts – don't go partying on our dime.

    May 25, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. wizard

    NV Governor Gibbons should seek treatment for his jerky knee and attitude - and work on adjusting hospitality attitudes in his state.

    Despite Obama's comments, I spent four days at the NAB convention in April. despite low hotel rates, and plenty of availability - the general malaise and poor attitude of hospitality workers throughout the city was a disgrace. The overall attitude was rude, and not at all likely to fuel a desire to visit again.

    My advice: Lose the attitude, buy into 'we need to work together' to get through this, and make the best of it. If all you have to sell is hospitality - THERE SHOULD NEVER BE AN OFF SWITCH.

    May 25, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Eddie of New York

    What a loser. It's called collateral damage dude. Some take a small hit for the benefit of the whole. If you think you are going to have a shoulder to cry on because you can't use your savvy corporate jets you got another thing coming. BWAHHH!!!

    Keep up the good work. You're making the republican party look (if possible) even more infantile, divisive, and partisan. How the hell can you argue with the president's point of "You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.” Answer that one?! How the hell can you comeback at that one?

    May 25, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. democrat in az

    Is this governer stupid or what? People are'nt going to Vegas because we have no money to blow. Any extra dollars I come across sure is'nt going to Lost Wages. What a frickin lop

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

    I must be missing something, but I have not read that the world owes the sins of Nevada a life of comfort and ease.

    May 25, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. wlou437

    The governor is blaming the wrong person for the drop in b;usiness. Companies and organizations without money cancelled the conventions and trips. No one would cancel a trip because the president said to do so. When was the last time someone did what the president asked?

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

    OH NO!!! A governor of a state refused to meet the President!!! What an outrage! Quick, better spin this into something more than it is, otherwise the story will slip back into irrelevancy.

    Where it belongs.

    May 25, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. John W. Olver

    "What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas". That's their promo line. Las Vegas pitches gambling and prostitution. I'm sure they'd argue differently but that's the attraction. There is nothing wrong with going there but the President should not advertise for "Sin City".

    Las Vegas is the epitome of conspicuous consumption. A glaring image of much that is wrong with America.

    May 25, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. Lisa

    Lighten up Francis!

    May 25, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. Matt

    Gibbons' comments are completely and totally asinine.

    Gibbons is seriously overestimating Obama's persuasiveness if he seriously thinks an offhand comment made related to how companies use their bailout money caused Las Vegas' problems.

    Vegas is way overbuilt. Period. The city got huge off the ridiculous consumption of the mid-90s. A correction was inevitable and was well underway before Obama made his comments, which weren't positive but could hardly be credibly blamed for causing Nevada's problems.

    This is political grandstanding and trying to blame the President for the long-term sustainability problems that Nevada and Las Vegas have to face.

    May 25, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. DAKOTA

    Man, oh, man. The Republicans just odn't get it. Excessive business and living styles are out. Period. Need to confer with business associates? Use the net.

    May 25, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. Tomas E

    If these business leaders want to spend their money lavishly on corporate jets, Vegas trips, perks and other stuff – they are more than welcome to do that. However, don't go holding your hand out for government tax payer money. Governor, that's what the issue is about and if you can't see that, then I feel for the people of your state.

    May 25, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. sydney

    Its time for Obama to move on. If the Gov. don't want to shake his hand, fine. The president doesnt have the time to deal with childish things. Its very typical of the Republican Party. They need to admit that their image has been trashed.

    May 25, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  18. betty

    He didn't say they shouldn't visit, he said they shouldn't do it on taxpayer money. If you need a bail out, you cant afford Vegas

    May 25, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  19. Laura

    So I suppose Obama should apologize to the NFL too, for dissing the Superbowl? (And just in case it's not clear, I'm KIDDING!)

    This is absurd. The governor should be embarrassed for such childish grandstanding.

    May 25, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. Chris

    Wail Wail Gnash Gnash!!


    I know it's wrong....but man is it fun watching the Republicans spin themselves into a death spiral.

    It is exactly what a political party that puts folks like Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld in charge deserve.

    May 25, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Michael

    I am so sick of cry-baby republican politicing. The governor's comments are both stupid and hypocritical. The economy of Las Vegas is hurting because we're in a deep, deep recession–possibly a depression. What would the governor have preferred? That companies taking tax-payer money be allowed to spend it on executive junkets in Las Vegas? Does he really think that would turn things around for the gambling industry? What an idiot! Read my lips, governor: the gambling industry is hurting because common people don't have any money–thanks largely to the accounting tricks of the executives you whom you would like to give a free ride.

    May 25, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Blamester

    Sounds like another Republican idiot just looking to blame somebody.

    May 25, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Drew

    Though I can understand the governor's position to an extent, it's his bad luck to govern over a state whose "tourism" and fortunes are connected largely to gambling and its perception of high living and hard-partying — at least at this point in our history. You wanna be known as the President who gave money to Vegas fatcats? Not so much.

    May 25, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. hellokitti

    Another example of ridiculous, transparent game playing. Obama has nothing to apologize for. Business is down because of the economic fiasco of the last 8 years. I hope Colin Powell can resurrect the Republican Party that we used to respect and be proud of. Otherwise, I think it is Hello, Libertarian Party! They appeal to the same base that the current Republican base appeals to, and they do it a lot better.

    May 25, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. Charles

    The pettiness of some people in positions of leadership never ceases to amaze me. The governor should be pleased that the president wanted to meet with him. Grow up, governor.

    May 25, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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