May 25th, 2009
09:05 PM ET
11 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. cammie

    Wow..what a smack down and he deserved. He thought nothing of flying his jet (along with 5 other jets to prepare and take cars etc.) to go to Indiana and Florida...what good did that do??? Also, he had to fly back to Chicago to take Michelle out to dinner...and he did what he did to Las Vegas...guess he didn't have his teleprompter in front of him and was talking out the cuff...he always screws up if it is written down for him.

    May 25, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Green Collar Worker

    So this guy wants the President to apologize to him for calling on corporations to use tax-payer dollars responsibly? And he, as an allegedly fiscally conservative Republican wants to talk about hypocrisy?

    Give me a break.

    May 25, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. steve

    Big cry baby Governor
    Republicans are turning into a joke. Protest the president for every flimsy excuse. I heard you have sent out a group of Tea party demonstrators waiting for his arrival.

    May 25, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Parnell Meagre

    Know a man by his enemies it's said. This governor character makes the President look pretty good. What a jerk!

    May 25, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. J.L.L. Indiana

    A Republican Governor is snubbing the Democratic President. This is news?

    May 25, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. Hepzibah

    Nonsense...I guess he feels real proud of wonder people
    are ashamed of the GOP......
    how childish

    May 25, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  7. California

    Oh my... yeah of course lets have Obama give the bailed-out companies some money strictly to spend in Casino spas... maybe that will make the republicans happy

    May 25, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  8. don

    Right on gov! All the democrats are hypocrites!

    May 25, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. Kellie

    Oh yes, because life was so much better when big corporations were thowing lavish retreats while their companies went belly-up. I lived in Vegas, and its problems have nothing to do with Obama's comment – and Gibbons knows it. Vegas will survive, but will never thrive until it starts investing in its residents rather than its casino owners. Get off your high horse, governor.

    May 25, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. Concerned Taxpayer

    President Obama is RIGHT and Governor Gibbons is Wrong! No one wants any business that receives some of their money through the government bailout program to be partying hardie in Las Vegas or any other city!

    May 25, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  11. thomas

    If the governor of Nevada wishes to blame the cancellation of anything on the President. He can go right ahead and continue to make himself look like an ass. I bet he understands the economy is the true issue. If he doesn't, perhaps Nevada can find someone who has a firmer grasp of reality. Additionally, if this is a political stunt I am not surprised to hear of another shunning by the GOP. It seems to be what they are good at these days.

    May 25, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. Eddie M.

    Hope Gibbons is keeping the seat warm for the next Democratic NV governor!

    May 25, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. John

    So Nevada, your Governor supports using our tax money for Corporate Jets and expensive vacations. So what does this mean is willing to do with your state dollars? Time for a new Governor...

    May 25, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. mike

    What has happened to the Republican party? They all act like 5 year olds. They're offended by everything. GROW UP!!! You lost the election. Show some class for a change. I was an independent before, but it will be a long time before I vote Republican again. I don't want anyone as unstable as the current Republican leadership to be in charge of anything.

    May 25, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  15. gerard

    A governer acting like a child.

    May 25, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  16. AShiraishi

    I don't see anything to talk about. The height of hypocrisy, as Mr. Gibbons puts it, has long been practiced by corporate elite living in the lap of luxury at the expense of those very working families that the Governor purports to defend. I certainly support the President's belief that they absolutely won't do it on my tax dime. Perhaps if the great state of Nevada would look for sources of revenue that didn't include gambling, prostitution and a service industry that caters to just about every human vice known to man they wouldn't be "suffering" so.

    May 25, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  17. Jim Johnson

    Jim Gibbons is a loser. The problems of Neveada are greedy speculators for homes and a sick economy based on greedy speculators of homes. Lost Wages will take a long time to come back and so will the entire economy. Pointing fingers, being a member of a political party run by Mr. Limpfellow and saying no to everything will not help. Get a life, Gibbons. You are lucky you aren't in jail.

    May 25, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. Biased

    My congratulations to the Governor for not rushing off for a handshake at an airport at Obama's convenience. It is nice to see if you believe in something you stick to your plans to wait for an apolgy or a better offer than a call to come to an airport which I am sure would someone end up being used as a promo as to how the Governor holds no hard feelings etc.

    May 25, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. HENRY

    The Nevada Governor is being very petty.

    May 25, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. marc

    I think the governor should blame Bush! Come on grow up! You sound like a bully who just couldn't wait to blame someone else for your own woes. It isn't just about you Mr Vegas. The nation as a whole has been effected, that is why you are suffering. Obama was justified in his critique of the power people spending our money on silly extravagances, in such a time. Grow up!

    May 25, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  21. A College Teacher


    I don't know why you are a public official.

    May 25, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. Testudo

    O get over it. The President was right to say that companies who take money from the government shouldn't be spending it on lavish trips to Vegas. Gibbons is just sour for no reason.

    May 25, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Vic

    Well the gov just helped the Republicans dig that hole just a little bit deeper. What the heck is the governor's beef about? If we can't afford to buy a ticket and otherwise cut back on the expenses of watching the Yankees play - is Alex Rodriguez coming to get us? Get a life, Republicans!

    May 25, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  24. Dan, TX

    Guess he doesn't want to talk to Obama. That's fine. I'm sure the President can find others who will be pleased to talk with him.

    May 25, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  25. William

    Well Nevada doesn't have a large population but it sure has a governor with a BIG ego. Insulting a popular president is hardly the way to get more tourists to Las Vegas.

    May 25, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
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