Complete statements from Lawmakers on President Obama's Las Vegas remarks
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama singled out Las Vegas in a speech in New Hampshire and now state lawmakers and city leaders are firing back.
The President said, "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 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."
Below are the complete statements from state, city and county leaders regarding the president's remarks:
Gov. Jim Gibbons - (R) Nevada
"I am stunned that this President is so thoughtless and so heartless when he says these things," Governor Gibbons 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," Gibbons said, "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.
Governor Gibbons 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."
Senator Harry Reid - (D) Nevada
"I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money.
"Nevada is the nation's top destination for tourism and conventions. It is more popular than any other place in the country, and for good reason: it's affordable, easy to get to from anywhere and the weather is perfect.
"To truly reenergize our economy, we need people to travel to Las Vegas. I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas."
Senator John Ensign - (R) Nevada
"President Obama has become quite comfortable criticizing Las Vegas," said Ensign. "Unfortunately, I think that he has failed to grasp the weight that his words carry. As a result of his irresponsible comment just last year, countless companies and federal agencies cancelled their conventions at Las Vegas hotels, costing these hotels and our city millions of dollars. Once again he has threatened the struggling economy of Las Vegas. I certainly hope that companies across this country understand that his comments are simply cavalier assumptions about a city that offers dollar for dollar the best rates in the country.
"I am calling on the President to apologize for his remark. Las Vegas is suffering through one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and we cannot afford for the President to bring us down any further."
Congressman Dean Heller - (R) 2nd District of Nevada
"This is not the first time the President has found Las Vegas to be a convenient political punch-line. At the same time the President tells people not to come to Las Vegas, he has no problems coming to our state to raise money. Getting our tourism industry up and running should be a priority for the President. Nevada has one of the most distressed economies in the country and the President has done little to focus on job creation over the past year. Discouraging people from coming to our state to make a political point adds insult to injury," said Heller.
Congresswoman Dina Titus - (D) Nevada's 3rd District
"It is unbelievable that President Obama again singled out Las Vegas for ridicule when the fact is that our city is one of the premier destinations for work or pleasure. This pattern of bashing Las Vegas to make a point must stop.
"Hundreds of thousands of hard-working Las Vegas men and woman make a living in the travel and tourism sector, and the President's comment disparaging travel to Las Vegas is a blow to all of them. From affordable accommodations to world-class entertainment, Las Vegas is a top travel and convention destination for a reason.
"I hope that when President Obama visits later this month, he will see what a wonderful city Las Vegas is and will encourage people from around the world to visit."
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley - (D) Nevada's 1st District
"Enough is enough! President Obama needs to stop picking on Las Vegas and he needs to let Americans decide for themselves how and where to spend their hard earned vacation dollars. This is the second time he's pointed a finger in our direction and both times he's been wrong to single out Las Vegas. Whether it's a weekend trip to Vegas or a family visit to grandma's house, tourism means jobs and a boost for local economies in Nevada and nationwide. What he should have said is that Las Vegas is a bargain and everyone from around the globe should come and see it for themselves," said Berkley. "I have called the White House to lodge a complaint and I am in the process of writing the President to explain the negative impact of his words on the businesses and families that call Las Vegas home."
Rossi Ralenkotter - President/CEO Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
"Millions of visitors enjoy Las Vegas and all it has to offer every year. Tourism is the number one economic stimulus for Southern Nevada and for many cities and states across the country. While we appreciate Las Vegas is top of mind for the President, we would ask that he offer words of encouragement instead of criticism."