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Nevada Governor Accuses Obama Of Ruining Las Vegas

Reported by Ellen - May 27, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Brian

Not even Neil Cavuto, host of Your World, seemed to buy Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) contention that President Obama's comment last February, “You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer's dime" was such a slur against Las Vegas that it caused their tourism business to tank and the city to lose its uniqueness. Nevertheless, Cavuto gave Gibbons a sympathetic platform from which to attack the president and publicize his own snub of Obama during his visit to the city earlier in the day (5/26/09). With video.

After a banner on the screen read, “Pres blamed for $100M hit to Vegas convention business,” Gibbons told Cavuto, "It's something that I think has offended a lot of Nevadans. It's affected our economy here in Nevada. When you look at the statistics, 400 meetings that were either conventions or business meetings have not come to Nevada. There are about 112,000 individuals who in that case wouldn't be here, and 225,000 room nights, $100 million lost economy."

"But is that the President's fault, Governor, or just a lousy economy? A lot of people are cutting back on that sort of stuff,” Cavuto responded.

“I think you could say it's a little of both,” Gibbons said.

“Right,” Cavuto agreed.

Gibbons continued, “I'm shocked that a President would make this remark at all. He didn't say anything about Orlando, Honolulu, Chicago or any other major convention city.” Then, explaining why he had declined to greet Obama when he arrives, Gibbs added, “So offering me a momentary handshake and a grin isn't going to change what he said." Gibbs said he wanted to sit down and talk with Obama and get an apology. The banner on the screen read, “NV Gov Gibbons not interested in handshake from Pres.”

Cavuto said, "Then tell him that." Cavuto played a clip of White House Press Secretary Gibbs saying that if Gibbons had something to say to the president, he should meet with him and say it. Cavuto said, "Fairly or not, Governor, they're making you out to be a baby."

Gibbons replied that greeting the president would be too brief to discuss this important matter. “A handshake and a hello from the president isn't going to correct this problem." Maybe not, but perhaps he could have asked to speak further with Obama at that point, instead of pouting on Fox. But then again, the public pouting probably got Gibbons a lot more publicity than a private meeting with Obama. Gibbons told Cavuto he wanted Obama to make a public statement supporting travel and tourism to Las Vegas. “Las Vegas is a destination unlike any other in this country but his comments have changed that,” Gibbons said.

Cavuto said he thought Obama's comments pertained to “those companies that were on the public dime, those companies that have been rescued by taxpayers, that it didn't look good that they be popping up to pow wow in Vegas. What do you make of that, that he was being very select in his wrath, if you like?"

Gibbons acknowledged that that may not have been Obama's intent but, according to Gibbons, Obama's comment “had the effect of being very, very harmful to Nevada... We need to get out there a public statement encouraging travel to Nevada, and specifically to Las Vegas to make up for this. You know, he promised change. Well, he's changed Nevada. Our unemployment is now higher and we're seeing companies who do not want the scrutiny of the federal government on them making decisions about whether or not they come to Las Vegas. That's unconscionable.”

Again, Obama had been talking about companies taking bailout funds partying it up at taxpayer expense. It had nothing to do with private companies.

But rather than reinforce that point or address Gibbons' ridiculous assertion that Obama had changed Las Vegas, Cavuto said sympathetically, “You might be getting under his skin, at least White House officials' skin, because they had been trying to clarify that they were meaning no offense to Las Vegas... You're saying that he was very select.”

Funny how Gibbons was so busy attacking Obama that he never talked up Las Vegas, never encouraged travel or conventions there, himself, during his several minutes on national television.