February 19th, 2010
10:15 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama heads to Vegas

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.obamareid.gi.jpg caption="Obama teams up with Harry Reid Friday in Las Vegas."](CNN) - President Obama teams up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at two events Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada. The visit comes as Reid faces a tough re-election bid this year, and as the president has come under attack for comments he's made about Las Vegas.

The president and the senate majority leader attend a town hall at a local high school, where Obama will take questions from citizens and business leaders. Later the two men travel to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, where Obama will give a speech.

Reid also joined the president Thursday night at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser that was held at a private residence in Las Vegas. The Nevada Democrat is battling this year for a fifth term in the Senate. While he's raised a large amount of campaign cash, polls of Nevada voters suggest that Reid faces a difficult re-election.

Earlier this month Reid told the White House to "lay off Las Vegas" after Obama slighted the city while making comments 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 on February 2. "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."

The comments also sparked condemnations from numerous Nevada Republicans, including two candidates running to unseat Reid, and the state's other senator, John Ensign.

The president took a verbal swipe at Las Vegas last year as well. The Democratic mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, was also furious with the president, going so far as to call Obama a "slow learner" who should go back to Washington to think about his "failures" and to say he's sorry.

CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if an apology would be coming Friday from the president.

Gibbs' response: "Stay tuned."

- CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry and Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Harry Reid • Las Vegas • President Obama
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Vivian McRae

    He's going to apologize, as many times as Joe Wilson, Harry Reid and every ody else who are constanly call our Pres. out of his name.

    February 19, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. mjm

    Obama on the campaign trail? When was the last time THAT happened?

    You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas unless it's tax payers cash and you're campaigning for a loser.

    February 19, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Fed Up

    If the trend continues, Reid is gone. He never should have asked Obama to stump for him.

    February 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. allan

    This two will out very soon.

    February 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Steve (the real one)

    I wil give you dems/liberals credit for this, many are quoting only part of his statement. I understand what the President was saying..If you can't pay your mortgage don't gamble! Real easy. What is funny though is Reid acts like he doesn't get it! Which is it Reid?? Maybe he is trying to have it both ways! Maybe he is just politically posturing and pandering, as if he really cares! Quick, somebody give Reid an Oscar!

    February 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Patricia in Las Vegas

    Welcome to Las Vegas, Mr. President. Please ignore the idiotic comments from our gin-sodden mayor. Evidently Oscar has killed too many brain cells. Thank you Mr. President for trying to teach fiscal responsibility. More people should listen and follow suit.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Ken

    How much will THIS campaign trip cost American taxpayers? Why dont you do your JOB Obama which is to make jobs and not empty promises? You never LEFT campaign mode.

    I am proud of the LV mayor for refusing to be a pawn in just another photo-op.

    Reid will be out of a job in less than a year and Obama IS a one term president unless he gets impeached first!

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    The people of Las Vegas apparently have a thin skin to complain about banks taking tax payer money to Vegas and blowing it. I think Atlantic City would have liked the publicity.

    February 19, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Michael Beckner

    Welcome to Las Vegas, Mr. President....where many people just don't get it! This town is a strange combination of a great place to live and a great place to visit. But, most of our residents stay away from the tourist attractions and most of the tourists never leave the strip to see our great city. Unlike the White House which is a great place to visit, but frankly I don't see why anyone would want to live there. The abuse you take for just trying your best to help our Nation astounds me. In the deepest recesses of your heart and your wonderful mind, you must ask yourself, "Why did I ever want this job?"

    But, then as you look at your beautiful family, as you ponder the world faced by so many families, you remember: "I am here to make things better. I am here to give our children and their children a strong democracy, free from prejudice, free from fear, free from a planet so polluted it is fighting for its life! That’s why I sought this job and I am here to get it done!”

    Mr. President, the vast majority of Las Vegans, Nevadans, Americans and the rest of the inhabitants of the earth are with you! Enjoy you brief visit to our curious metropolis and don’t take to heart the nay-sayers you may hear…..they still think the shrimp cocktails are really free!

    Michael Beckner
    Las Vegas, NV

    February 19, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. SNAPPA

    Ya know what Las Vegas needs to get over itself real fast. What the President said is perfectly valid. "If your trying to save for college then maybe you shouldn't go to Vegas" is perfect advice. The same with the other offense that people have taken "companies that take a public bail out from tax payers shouldn't be having lavish parties in Las Vegas". I am a Las Vegas resident and I cannot afford to have a lavish time here. Its OK when these same companies hand out millions in bonuses that spark outrage but book a trip to Vegas? Whats wrong with you people?

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. judy

    an apology from this president? get real!! Obama is a know it all – the kind of person most people tend to avoid. One term presdent – should have been no term!

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. Independent

    You don't blow a bunch of taxpayers dollars going to Vegas when the rest of the country is prioritizing, making tough choices !! Time to follow your own advice Mr. President.

    February 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. FL


    February 19, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    If Harry gets 50 senate votes (Biden breaks the tie) for the public option, he will be fine in the November election.

    February 19, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. David in Texas

    "You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. " ~ President Obama

    Anyone who disagrees with this statement is retarded.

    Oops, I hope Sarah Palin doesn't blow another gasket over my comment!

    February 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Thank God Obama will campaign for and support Reid and lets hope he does it for more of the weirdos and kooks that hold leadership positions in the formerly Democratic party. It seems to be the kiss of death for their political careers. The only people that support these inept, corrupt politicians in Nevada are the corrupt, thieving and lazy unions.

    February 19, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. SocialismBad

    It is going to be sooooo sweet to see Harry Reid humiliated in November when the voters throw his sorry rearend OUT THE DOOR!

    Don't worry Obama, your time is coming as well. First the American people will throw all your pawns out, rendering the Great Mess-iah impotent. Then in 2012, if you decide to humiliate yourself and your party and run again, you'll be TROUNCED.

    You're incompetence has made Jimmy Carter look good. And nobody would have EVER thought that possible.

    February 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Andy

    Be sure and tell all how Reid took the jobs bill off the table yesterday when the republicans were going to sign it.You know the same bill that you,Obama,and Reid have gone ballistic over because the Repubs would not sign.I guess this was Bush's fault too.

    February 19, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. tainopower

    $1.5 Billion in Housing Assistance in Vegas? I Will ask the governor from my state to get mad at obama to see if we can get pay off to. And get a sweet deal to. This president thinks everything gets fix whit money specially if is not his. STOP the out of control spending and remove this president before is to late.

    February 19, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. felicia

    I still like my President if reid lose so what he's not good for the President anyway because of his racist views. So i say President will win and so will the people.

    February 19, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. How To Waste Money for Dummies(by a Dem)

    Any chance you two could play the games in Vegas and win back our 862 billion that was to create jobs.you know the jobs that were to stay under 8%.Blame it on Bush,he was @ 5.7% and Pelosi criticised him,by the way where is she now @ 9.7%.(really more like 17%,the people I know have run out money printing resumes.

    February 19, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Chipster

    I agree with President Obama's position that college students should not go to Vegas and gamble away their college tuition.

    I wish some of those who think students should gamble away their tuition would explain why they think this would be a good idea. If they only listen to Beck and Limbaugh, they may be surprised that they were given (once again) false and/or misleading information and that the President never said people shouldn't go to Vegas.

    Would Beck and Limbaugh intentionally mislead anyone? Gee, do ya think?

    February 19, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Before everyone starts making a mountain out of the molehill of a comment President Obama made about Las Vegas, here are a few Las Vegas facts to keep in mind:

    Nickname: Sin City

    Registered trademark/unofficial slogan: What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

    Greatest source of state income: Gambling

    Other legalized activities, found only in Nevada (in the US): Prostitution

    I say these things promote your city as a place where people do things that may not be in their best economic or personal interest.

    There's nothing wrong with President Obama using Vegas as a metaphor for irresponsible financial behavior.

    People who don't like it need to grow up!

    February 19, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. Democrats = party of hate!

    But I thought Obama said we weren't supposed to go to Vegas??? Can't he make up his mind on anything?

    February 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Oblameo’s explanation will be on the scale and as genuine as Tiger Woods.

    February 19, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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