In the midst of making a valid point about how companies should spend federal bailout funds, President Obama singled out Las Vegas as a destination businesses should avoid when planning corporate events. The remark set off a howl of outrage from Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. Goodman told KLAS-TV of Las Vegas. "He owes us an apology - he owes us a retraction."
The mayor made the point that cities like Las Vegas depends on tourism and the president could be driving business away. Vegas is already seeing more than its share of suffering from the economic downturn, with visitor arrivals and hotel occupancy dipping precipitously.
KLAS-TV reports that companies such as Wells Fargo, Citibank and Goldman Sachs recently cancelled scheduled meetings in Las Vegas, causing a ripple effect throughout the city -from casinos to cab drivers to contractors who set up the sound systems and perform other production tasks for the meetings.
The Associated Press reports that Goodman has written to the president, saying, "I understand the enormous burden you carry in dealing with the worst economy since the Great Depression. ... I also understand the need for accountability, but your comments are harmful to the meetings and convention industry as a whole and Las Vegas specifically."