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. Jen in NC

    Honestly Governor? You really think that is why Vegas tourism is down? Seriously? You may have noticed that we are in the middle of the biggest economic crisis since the depression. My family can't afford a vacation 3 hours away at the beach this year.

    And no, I don't want companies who received my tax money to pay for Vegas "conventions" right now. They need to be working to figure out how get themselves out of they jam there greed, corruption and incompetence cause so they can pay back the money. Then they can go to Vegas on their own dime – not mine!

    But go ahead with your Republican feigned indignation. And make sure that Nevada takes NO stimulus money. We can use it in NC.

    May 25, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. James

    With all due respect, the Governor should grow up. What better way than to make your case than in a face to face with the President. He just looks silly by pouting in public.

    May 25, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. Not likely

    Don't hold your breath. You should be asking former Pres. Bush to apologize for leaving such a mess.

    May 25, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. Wyatt

    So he can come raise money for that despicable Harry Reid, but he can't sit down with the Nevada governor? Weak.

    This isn't the HopeyChange we have been waiting for.

    May 25, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Mark

    Nice snub! I'd do the same thing. Obama should apology for his remarks about Las Vegas. Obama should try to do something good, for change.

    May 25, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. NorthMiamiBeach Florida

    President Obama's comments were made in the heat of the moment due to the economy, we understand – I didn't know my tax money was being used for such luxuries by the big corporations – However, if you're a politician it's your duty to respect the President because some of your constituents may have voted for him – So, swallow your pride, shake his hand and he probably will publicly promote your city -Speaking negatively against any President is Un-American for any American -

    May 25, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Tony

    There is NO end to the "sour grapes"!

    May 25, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  8. ja

    that is called a sin tax, as you do with cigarettes, if corporations are in need taxpayer funds they need to brown bag it for a while, back to bascis

    May 25, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Jen in NC

    Honestly Governor? You really think that is why Vegas tourism is down? Seriously? You may have noticed that we are in the middle of the biggest economic crisis since the depression. My family can't afford a vacation 3 hours away at the beach this year.

    And no, I don't want companies who received my tax money to pay for Vegas "conventions" right now. They need to be working to figure out how get themselves out of the jam their greed, corruption and incompetence caused so they can pay back the money. Then they can go to Vegas on their own dime – not mine!

    But go ahead with your Republican feigned indignation. And make sure that Nevada takes NO stimulus money. We can use it in NC.

    May 25, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Whine, complain, play-to-the-base, yell 'socialism' whenever you don't like something – this is the GOP's only plan. Yes it was the President admonishing greedy corporate leaders that resulted in all those cancellations Jimbo. It had nothing to do with the Republican sponsored recession that we've been enduring since 2007.

    May 25, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. CBH

    More grandstanding form the GOP. President Obama does not owe Governor Gibbons anything. What does not being able to buy company planes and buying vacations with taxpayers money have to do with promoting tourism. More GOP garbage.

    May 25, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. TX Democrat

    Begging for an apology based on the President's assertion of not gambling away tax payer dollars by corporate big wigs is quite petty on Jim Gibbons part. Unfortunately, when you get your marching orders from Boss Limbaugh, what can you expect?

    May 25, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. DB

    I think that Jim's decision to snub the president is a bit petty and without class. Obama was referring to taxpayer money being frivolously spent in Vegas. Regardless of how the Governor may feel, Obama is right, and as a taxpayer, I don't want my tax dollars spent on this purpose either. Jimmy boy should just get over it and focus on legitimate sources of income for Vegas businesses, rather than act in this childish manner.

    May 25, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. rich

    This guy is a nutcase. He will be waiting for an apology from the President until Nevadians kick him out of office. Who does he thinks the president is to be aplogizing to him. Had to be a Republican governor. They are the party of NO so his postion is nothing new.

    May 25, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. jim

    Get over it Gov. Gibbons. Obama's doing the same thing to the whole country.

    May 25, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Jim in NM

    Good! Tell Obama to go pound sand.

    May 25, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Isaac

    Maybe Gibbons needs to move to a state where they don't make their livings trying to get people to gamble away money they don't have.

    May 25, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. marko65

    Yeah really, how dare the President call out large corporations that took bailout money from spending it on themselves in Vegas.
    Americans expect corporations to do this, it's why they keep electing politicians that take lobbyist money.
    The sooner that Obama realizes that America has a deathwish and wants to fail the better.

    May 25, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. Trysh in Los Angeles

    Wow! Republicans are so bitter.

    May 25, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  20. Bill

    Really? So, Governor Gibbons believes that taxpayers dollars SHOULD go to fund corporate play dates in Vegas? Jerk.

    May 25, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  21. JM

    Well I hate to break it to the Governor, but if your company received a tax payer funded bailout then you should be using it to save your company not take a Vegas vacation and I think most Americans would agree with me. It's not like he was telling all individual Americans that they should do that. This guy is a Republican and IMO he's just using this as an excuse to brush off President Obama. These Republicans really need to stop being so petty and get over the fact that they lost and move on!

    May 25, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  22. Libertarian

    So the President should apologize for saying exactly what needs to be said?! We wouldn't be in this mess if some companies hadn't thrown money away at Luxury events. I go to Vegas several times a year to be wined and dined on the company dime(s). All of them have been cut this year because the Executive team finally realized that having a "LOSS" at year end "was not a sustainable business model". LOL What do they learn at the Havard School of Business anyhow?

    May 25, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. Anthony

    Right cause all the lost revenue was from people who going to fly in on corporate jets. This governor is a joke. The real reason he didn't want to go to the convention is because that is his scheduled lap dance time, well actually, his whole day is like that. What else is the governor of Nevada supposed to do?

    May 25, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  24. Glen in Los Angeles

    Back in the early 90's, I spoke to a casino manager once about how the US economy affected the house takes in Las Vegas. He told me it wasn't significant since, back then, when the US economy took a hit, the Asians would make up for it or the Arabs would make up for it when the Asian business petered out. When the Arabs stopped coming, the Europeans would show up. But now, in 2009, since the economic slowdown is global, I don't suppose that reliable pattern is so reliable as it was. I was in Vegas two weeks ago and had the hotel"s swimming pool just about to myself. It felt very Nuevo-Depression. Everyone! HURRY while it lasts!

    May 25, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. Anthony

    Right cause all the lost revenue was from people who going to fly in on corporate jets. This governor is a joke. The real reason he didn't want to go to the convention is because that is his scheduled lap dance time, well actually, his whole day is like that. What else is the governor of Nevada supposed to do??

    May 25, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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