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

Reid to Obama: 'Lay off Las Vegas'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/30/art.getty.reid.closeup.jpg caption="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. Baby Boomer

    Oh brother. The President's point was clear. Harry Reid should tread lightly. We already gave him a pass for the "Light Skinned and no Negro Dialect" remark. He needs to give the President (Who he personally made remarks about) a break.

    February 2, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Aaron

    I'm no big Obama fan, but it's true. If you can't pay your bills, common sense would dictate that you not spend all your money gambling in Vegas. The casinos are obviously there to take your money, not give money away.

    February 2, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    The President is neither "bashing" Las Vegas nor Nevada's economic engine. He is encouraging people to be responsable with their money, and not to spend money on "fun" that they should be saving for something else.

    The intellectual dishonesty in today's politics is appalling.

    February 2, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    I demand an apology from John Ensign for opposing President Obama's agenda.

    February 2, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. Lee in Oregon

    Common sense must not be popular now. Is there anything this president can say that won't be ripped apart? It's no wonder nothing gets done in Washington. They're too busy picking on each other to get some work done like passing the jobs bill, regulatory control with the banks, etc. etc.

    Come on people........enough is enough!

    February 2, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. Tanbiker2

    Harry Reid needs to go back to Vegas and stay there. Hopefully, he'll lose all his money and his pension there as well.

    February 2, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Meanwhile in reality

    Obama was speaking metaphorically. You'd – or in this case, Reid'd – have to be in idiot not to get that, and I don't suspect for one moment that he didn't.

    This is why the Dems are so utterly hopeless. The Repubs grasp at a phantom issue and trump it up with feigned umbrage to bash Obama, and instead of having the stones to say, "Get over yourselves," Reid takes the bait and parrots these nitwits to try to seem tough to his constituents. Were the roles reversed, a Repub would never be so easily manipulated.

    February 2, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Ok let's see if I can get this straight.....most of the folks that are upset with the comments of President Obama (as usual) are Republlicans......and most Republicans consider themselves to be pious upstanding Christians........and Christians claim that gambling along with prostitution both legal in Nevada is a SIN.......YET if you do it and it contributes to the Nevada economy and you lose your savings to do it then it's ok. I see...well I think now I understand what's going here. Do as I say not as I do.

    February 2, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Lisa

    People need to get real. If you're looking at college or mortgage expenses and DON'T have extra cash available, then you DON'T need to be blowing wads of cash in Vegas. Or anywhere else for that matter. Nothing against Vegas, but you have to prioritize what is more important. A roof over your head and education IS more important than having fun in Vegas!

    February 2, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. Mark

    Too late, Reid. Nevada is finished with you. You will loose your election by a landslide.

    February 2, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  11. Hey Nevada . . . It Ain't Called "Lost Wages" For Nothing

    Is it time to call the WWWAAAAABULANCE?

    February 2, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. File under "Sarcasm"

    Come on, Harry, lighten up, how could President Obama say or do anything wrong? If he said it, you're just suppose to say "Yes, Sir" and repeat his pearls of wisdom.

    February 2, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  13. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    I agree, the prez shouldn't use Vegas as a guinea pig for his rationalizations. That's their way to earn money and cash, and they have it tough already. He should keep his mouth shut on it and stop blaming the past Administration, blame Vegas and why people shouldn't travel(for the record, is people's money, they are entitled to it...or high-tech, is called "private corporation").

    The Prez better get this head out of the sand and start realizing he's the new employee, not the employer. He got the job because we believe he can do a better job and rationalizing and suppressing other realities won't get you nowhere in the long run.

    February 2, 2010 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
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