May 26th, 2009
05:02 AM ET
13 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.


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