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. Jimmy James

    He can apologize to our enemies but won't apologize to citizens that he offended?

    February 19, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Tom

    Desparate acts from a desparate president. I live in Las Vegas and I can tell you this, Harry Reid is gone, people actually despise him here, and the only person they despise more is Obama. So Obama coming here and attempting to buy us off with taxpayer money is only making us more upset. Where has this money been for the last year and a half?

    February 19, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. kyle from ohio

    again they new and people want to be so negative; where is the slight of Las Vegus (Sin City). where the state law requires to inform people that they have the right to gamble, and also to seek gamblers sickness help. a fact. You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. a fact..

    So now facts are insensitive.

    February 19, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. Duck Fallas

    Christian conservatives heart Sin City.

    February 19, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. terry,va.

    If we had Pelosi in the photo, it would be the 3 stooges instead of 2.

    February 19, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. paul

    This visit will go over like a fart in church.. Hey come to my rally after I totally dissed your city multiple times!!!!

    February 19, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. jules sand-perkins

    What President Obama said about blowing a bunch of cash in Vegas makes perfect sense. Tough if those who take gamblers' money don't like the truth.

    February 19, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. REG in AZ

    There is an aggressive concerted effort to sway and manipulate public opinion with deceptive appeals to people’s fears, emotions, prejudices, biases and preferences. The source and beneficiaries of these efforts are those who gained from the control they had in 2001 – 2008 and who are now seeking to create a return to ‘more of the same’. Their selfish intent should be totally obvious from the subterfuge they offer and in just recognizing who benefits, who looses and the dishonesty they use to promote their positions. But that may not always be the case as they are the influential, powerful and extremely wealthy few who spare no expense or effort, overt and covert, honest and dishonest, using scare tactics as well as appeals to people’s self-concern, to sway the public’s thinking. Whether Tea Party, Conservative Groups, Republican activists, lobbyists or whatever, the questions that always need to be asked are, “What is real?” and “Who is behind it?” The hype they use as being concerned for the majority and in disguising their real interest to benefit only the few should be seen through and be totally clear simply in the complete absence of any value, any real effort or any actual intent to resolve problems or benefit the majority.

    The Democrats have problems as they need better control and to get together on solving the problems but really the problems aren’t because the Democrats are spending … rather the Democrats are spending because of the problems! To do nothing or to return to ‘more of the same’ would be disastrous. It should be remembered that the first stimulus package, with the full support of the Republican Party, was implemented by GWBush but without any restrictions, oversight or controls, basically just a “here, take it, do what you want with it and just remember me” and that is exactly what happened.

    Progress could be made when with bipartisan cooperation but that has been obstructed and rejected all along; again proving where the Republicans’ loyalty is and what their real intent is. The Republicans are owned and controlled by Special Interests and the select few and while there is a whole lot of room for improvement with the Democrats, they still offer a more conscience driven approach to benefit the majority, including most everyone. If we want the Republicans to return to being sincerely interested in the people, then we must break their ties to the few by firmly rejecting what they have become. If the voters fail to understand that, fail to see the con going on, then we may just end up with ‘more of the same’.

    February 19, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Ryan

    My Mother told me once never to blow all my money on Vegas.... is she banned from visiting too?

    Let's face it, the mayor just needed to blame his local economic inadequacies on the President because god forbid he EVER took the time to think 'What will happen to this town when people go broke?"

    The entire city HINGES on a healthy economy – it has no back up whatsoever as far as tourist attractions go. At least Flagstaff has the Grand Canyon for income!

    People in Vegas are worried about hard times yet they still manage to meander hotels with shark tanks and trashy Pirate Water shows etc.

    George Bush's advice to all of us whenever things went bad was "just go shopping or the terrorists win!" – When really that was our first clue that he was tanking our economy and hoping to make up for it without us noticing... then 8 year later he creates a stimulus.. that's spent on 14,000.00 trash cans for AIG.

    And these idiot conservatives who put the war on Uncle Sam's credit card are seriously gonna criticize President Obama!?!?!?

    February 19, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. andy

    Going to defend a liberal left nutjob. I guess Obama owes Reid for pushing his big wasteful govt agenda.

    February 19, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Tom

    Yes, Obama should make a retraction and apologize for his Vegas comments. But, the mayor of Vegas, with his comments and actions, shows that he's very childish.

    February 19, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Willy Brown

    Good deal Barry. You showing up will ensure Hippie Harry"s end in Congress!

    February 19, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Todd

    palin twitted that she was too angry for a coherent response -- so we can therefore assume that she is always seething....

    February 19, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. BeverlyNC

    President Obama should stand up for Senator Harry Reid. He worked HARD this entire year trying to pass legislation to benefit the American people. As Leader of the Senate he was the one who most had to deal with the nasty, lying, obstructionist Republicans who used every Senate trick in the Senate bylaws to delay legislation for months. Harry Reid showed the patience of Job dealing with these anti-American Republicans. Harry Reid kept his cool, and unlike his Repubican counterparts, did not resort to personal attacks and temper tantrums on the floor of the Senate.
    Harry Reid is an honorable man and did the best job he could despite Republican attacks and political game playing with our lives.

    February 19, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Business people should not be going to Vegas....but it's OK if you're a democrat looking for special intestest cash. This guy is such a hyprocrite, his hypocrisy doesn't even shock me anymore.

    February 19, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. d1120

    Harry's days are numbered.

    February 19, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. mike

    It is tiring to see the President always out and about in "campaign mode".... instead of doing what he was elected to do.... it seems all he really knows is how to give speeches, glad hand political cronies, and act like "the anointed one".... he seems to be afraid to actually get down and do his job... puts off making a decision, or leading on important issues. He seems to be more comfortable passing off the hard decisions to others, so that he avoids the responsibility for those decisions... in my opinion, he is sadly out of his league being the leader of the free world.

    February 19, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Business people should not be going to Vegas....but it's OK if you're a democrat looking for special interest cash. This guy is such a hyprocrite, his hypocrisy doesn't even shock me anymore.

    February 19, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Grampa Grumps

    Obama and Reid, birds of a feather: failures.

    February 19, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. katiec

    The ones who should apologize are the republicans with their usual distortions as to what was said. How can anyone believe anything that comes out of these lying hypocrits mouths??
    Come on Americans. We are more intelligent than that,

    February 19, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    They say that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

    Maybe Obama should just stay in Vegas and quit harassing the rest of us.

    February 19, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Fan of Common Sense

    Hey Mr. President, I thought we weren't supposed to be going to Las Vegas and living it up......but I guess it's OK if you're a liberal politician looking for cash for the DNC.

    (If George Bush had done this after making such a dumb statement, the media would have crucified him.)

    February 19, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. jeff

    Not to wish our President any more bad luck, because I am a supporter of Obama, it's not his fault he has to clean up W's mess, but the we really need to dump Reid, he has been the most ineffective leader in recent memory. I don't want to lose the majority in the senate, but I would not be sorry to see this guy go. Chuck Schumer would do a far better job. Reid is just boring, bland and wishie washie. Our Party can do better, Our country needs our brightest and most innovative people right now, to claw our way out of this mess, I dare say, Reid don't cut it.

    February 19, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Republiklan Taliban Victim

    Reid needs to pass the Public Option or he will be finished.

    February 19, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. PJ

    I thought Obama said we shouldn't go to Vegas and spend money? Oh, my mistake! He's not out there spending HIS money; he's out there spending OUR money!

    February 19, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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