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Nevada Governor Defends Travel to Las Vegas

February 4, 2010 By: George Dooley

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons reacted angrily to media reports of President Barack Obama making another derogatory comment about Las Vegas.  In a statement, Gibbons cited media reports that quoted President Obama saying, “When times are tough, you tighten your belt. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.” The governor also took his complaint to national news media, noting the importance of travel to Nevada and Las Vegas.

“I am stunned that this President is so thoughtless and so heartless when he says these things,” Governor Gibbons, a  Republican, said, “Doesn’t President Obama know that thousands of families in Las Vegas are suffering because of his failed economic policies? On top of that, how dare he insult any American city. His comments are disgraceful and he should immediately apologize to the working families of Las Vegas.” Gibbons also noted that President Obama has no problem coming to Las Vegas to raise campaign cash for the Democratic Party, but insults the city when it fits the President’s agenda.

In a statement on his website, Governor Gibbons said he plans to write a letter to President Obama asking him to temper his comments about Las Vegas. “In this instance, President Obama could have said Atlantic City, or any of a number of American cities that have casinos, instead he again singled out Las Vegas,” Gibbons said, “A man in his position must be mindful of the power and influence of his comments, especially when he is making derogatory comments about an American city.

According to online transcript of President Obama’s remarks on  February 2, in a town hall meeting in Nashua, NH the media reports appear accurate.

The President said: “Responsible families don’t do their budgets the way the federal government does.  Right?  When times are tough, you tighten your belts.  You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage.  You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.  You prioritize.  You make tough choices.  It’s time your government did the same.” 

On February 2, President Obama sent a letter to Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who is the majority leader of the Senate, regarding his comment on Las Vegas. “I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I wasn’t saying anything negative about Las Vegas.  I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun.  There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country’s great destinations.  I have always enjoyed my visits, look forward to visiting in a few weeks, and hope folks will visit in record numbers this year.”

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