February 2nd, 2010
07:14 PM ET
4 years ago

Reid to Obama: 'Lay off Las Vegas'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the White House on Tuesday to 'lay off Las Vegas' after President Obama slighted the city during a riff about government spending.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the White House on Tuesday to 'lay off Las Vegas' after President Obama slighted the city during a riff about government spending.

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the White House on Tuesday to "lay off Las Vegas" after President Obama slighted the city during a riff about government spending.

"You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," Obama said at a New Hampshire town hall Tuesday. "You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same."

That remark sparked a flurry of condemnations from Nevada Republicans, including Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden, two Republicans hoping to unseat Reid this November.

"It is indefensible for Harry Reid to once again sit on his hands when President Obama continues to bash Las Vegas and Nevada's economic engine," Lowden said in a statement e-mailed out to reporters Tuesday afternoon.

But Reid, it turns out, was already on the case.

"I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Reid said in a statement. "To truly reenergize our economy, we need people to travel to Las Vegas. I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas."

Nevada's junior senator - Republican Sen. John Ensign - demanded an apology from the president.

"Las Vegas is suffering through one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and we cannot afford for the President to bring us down any further," Ensign tweeted.

– CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report


Filed under: 2010 • Danny Tarkanian • Harry Reid • Nevada • Sue Lowden
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Gerry NH

    If Obama does not lay off of Las Vegas then Reid is going to get Pelosi and really hurt him.

    February 2, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    the people of Nevada are right...what's wrong with spending your mortgage money and your kids' college funds in Las Vegas where the odds are always with the house? The president needs to back off Vegas for now and pick on other places like Atlantic City or these casinos on reservations as well.

    February 2, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Larry

    Reid, you need to retire, and take McCain with you.

    February 2, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    I'm guessing Obama that when Obama made the comment he was 'off telepromptor'. The man in fact can't think without someone feeding him lines.

    February 2, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. Total BS

    Hey Ensign,guess what....You don't have a say in anything !! Go cheat on your wife some more and hide in your cult penthouse in DC.We know all about you and you won your last election..So,shut your face and do us all a favor and resign already !!

    February 2, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. Silly Season

    This is silly season. So I guess you SHOULD GO TO VEGAS AND BLOW A BUNCH OF CASH WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS IN COLLEGE. The idiots need to stop talking. The president's message wasn't about Vegas, but about being sensible with your money. PLEASE, any other interpretation of what he said is ludicrous.

    February 2, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. david

    this is the stupidest thing i've read all day.

    February 2, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Ed

    Is this for real? This is the type of thing that gets Reid upset? No wonder 80%+ of Americans respects the Legislative Branch anymore.

    I'm pretty sure you should just resign or retire. No wait, you can't because you don't want to give up the gravy train of perks, pay offs and quid pro quo + all your top shelf benefits no real working class person will ever see on their real world job. Frankly I can think of a lot worse things to say about Nevada and Las Vegas that what Obama said.

    February 2, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    C'mon, Harry. The President was just making a point about how all Americans ( except Washington Democrats like you ) have been cutting back their expenses to only the essential because the economy has been tanking.

    The thing I don't understand is why the part about spending money in Vegas got you angry. The part about you blowin' all of our tax money while we scrimp and save didn't?

    February 2, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Jim

    Tell you what, Mr. Ensign, when you apologize to the President for calling him a socialist, and bad for the country, and all sorts of other names, then you can demand an apology. That road travels both ways. As for Reid, he is an EXPERT at sitting on his hands. His personal relationship with Joe Lieberman is why Lieberman continues to hold ANY power in the Senate. So, Reid and Ensign's complaints mean nothing. I have no issue with Las Vegas, but let's be honest. LV didn't get where it is by encouraging people be frugal or gamble responsibly.

    February 2, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. JLM

    The Presdent is not bringing Vegas down, it's those evil Bankers that's bringing Vegas Down.

    February 2, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Carole

    I HOPE they have a true Dem challenger for this cracka. This is the same cracka who said he did not work for the President of the USA shortly after President Obama was sworn in. THAT said it all!

    Replace Reid Please!

    February 2, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. vette gal

    Don't understand why an apology is needed. Obama only stated the truth. Most americans were living above their means, charging everything and saving nothing. Our parents didn't live this way and that's why when they retired, they had money to live on. Thankfully, they taught me well. If I can't pay cash for something, I don't buy it. Tore up my credit cards 11 years ago and was the best thing I ever did. Instead of making credit card payments, that money goes into a money market account and IRA's. That way, when I want to go gamble in Las Vegas or Tahoe, I've got the cash to do so without giving up something.

    February 2, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. kieran

    OMG! I won't sleep tonight after reading this story! :)lol

    February 2, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. Newuser

    Obama is paying back to Reid? I thought they were cool again, but it seems Obama wants to get rid of Reid from the senate.

    February 2, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. TOM

    Maybe Obama is trying to tell you something, Harry, like GO HOME AND TAKE PELOSI WITH YOU!

    February 2, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Mitch

    I'm sure Obama making an off handed remark about gambling away college tuition will stop people from going to Vegas.

    People can't go and gamble without money. I think the GOP economic policies have done a great job in stopping people from going to Vegas. Maybe they should apologize to Nevada for gambling away our future.

    February 2, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Justin

    Ensign says Pres.Obama should issue an "apology" yea right! the only thing he needs to worry about is his Ethics investigation, oh and Sen.Reid, get real! The only reason I like you is because your "Democrat" don't push it.

    February 2, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Burnett

    No apology should be needed for speaking the simple truth. If Obama's comments are considered bashing by Nevada GOP, they sure wouldn't want to hear mine.

    Las Vegas IS the national poster child for where people BLOW money they can't afford to lose. It is however, like many other vacation spots, a fine place to visit IF you can responsibly afford it.
    .

    February 2, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Glen

    Is Harry complaining about this time or the last time? Would he have kept quiet if his poll numbers were so bad? Poor Harry, lapdog of the President and then the President stands on your tail – ouch.

    February 2, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Nevada dude

    Oh, Please, this has nothing to do with Vegas–Obama was talking about people acting RESPONISBLY, not about bashing a gambling town.

    But if you are going to split hairs, Nevada politicians have done NOTHING to diversify the state economy in at least a generation. they rode the gravy train of speculation and development for decades and never bothered to look further than that. now that the state needs actual leadership, it turns out no one knows what to do except to feign outrage when people point out that Las Vegas is the place where people come to misbehave.

    Our governor Jim Gibbons is an incompetent fool who no one likes, Senator Ensign is a hypocritical philanderer, Rep Berkley doesnt know which way to vote until Gary Loveman, Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn or Bill Murren pulls one of their strings, and Rep Titus is still fighting local politics. And Harry Reid doesnt know how to use muscle in the Senate.

    So all these clowns need to shut up– Las Vegas wouldnt be the joke it has become if real leadership had been present the last 10 years or so.

    February 2, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. Right Leaning Independent

    I agree with what Obama is saying but it really bothers me that Obama preaches to people that they need to be responsible yet he is spending my money like a drunken sailor and running up huge deficits. This man is the biggest hypocrite!!!

    February 2, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. Jason

    Ensign cheats on his wife and is involved lobbying violations, nothing is done about it.

    Reid is a horrible leader who's only served to hinder the President, nobody cares.

    Tarkanian and Lowden are obviosuly interested in scoring political points, nobody is surprised.

    The President makes an honest assessment of Americans and our lack of fiscal responsibility...and he gets blasted for it?

    This is like having an intervention for a family member, only to then get yelled at by said family member for trying to help them get straight.

    Nevada, you deserve what you get if these are the people you elect.

    February 2, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Shibumi

    Just two panty-wearing, girlie men having a pillow fight. They will kiss and make up when the lights go out.
    BRING ON 2010!!!!!!!

    February 2, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. ED FL

    Hopefuly the United States population will not have Harry Reid's face or name to keep showing up in the news. Getting rid of him and Pelosi would be a greatest gift to this country, even if it means losing the majority in either or both the house and senate. These two losers have brought shame and disgrace to the Demo party Maybe the politicians will talk to one another again.The Bible belt right wing politicos and the northeast politicos of the demo party will not be
    missed by losing their seats. Hopefully the third leg[ independent party will take over the government and try something and someone new.What do we have to lose?

    February 2, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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