“O” No He Di’n't: Uproar Over POTUS Remarks, The Sequel

Oops!  He did it, again.  The WaPo’s 44 blog has the details re: the President’s slam on remarks about Vegas today.  Here’s an excerpt:

In remarks up in New Hamshire today, the president offered a back-handed slap to the desert city, saying that responsible people don’t “blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.”


The remark was not received with grace in Sin City, which, after all, hopes that lots of people will “blow a bunch of cash” in the struggling vacation mecca.

“POTUS saying ‘don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas’ during recession couldn’t have come at worse time,” tweeted Jon Ralston, an influential columnist for the Las Vegas Sun. “For economy. For Reid. For NV Dems. And don’t forget: POTUS scheduled to be here this month. Think of field day Repubs here will have when he comes.”

By Reid, Ralston was referring to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the Majority Leader, who already faces an uphill reelection bid. Having his president diss Vegas can’t help.

But it’s also not the first time for Obama.  In February, he chided the bankers who had taken big bailouts from the federal government only to then hold swanky conferences in Vegas.

“You can’t take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime,” Obama said during a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind. That caused an uproar in Nevada media and political circles.

So now we have Uproar, The Sequel.

Harry Reid was out first (via a RalstonFlash email alert):

“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.”

Steve Sebelius collected nearly all the rest of the response statements in one blog post over on SlashPolitics, so go see (includes comments from Titus, Tarkanian, Lowden, Gibbons and Berkley).

Ralston supplemented with some classic Mayor Oscar Goodman quotes (via Twitter):

“President Obama has real psychological hang ups…apology…not be acceptable this time”

“When (Obama) comes I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot back to Washington and to visit his failures back there.”

“And I gotta tell you this and everybody says I shouldn’t say it…but this president is a slow learner.”

Dean Heller sent out a press release that said:

“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.”

And, to wrap it up, Ralston posted Obama’s late day letter of explanation to Harry Reid.

Update (8:49 a.m. on 2/3/10):  Krolicki chimes in.  And Ralston pens a good/funny column.