Should Obama Apologize to Las Vegas?

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is mad. Earlier this week, when President Obama was in Indiana drumming up support for the stimulus, he emphasized that ...
by | February 11, 2009

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman is mad.

Earlier this week, when President Obama was in Indiana drumming up support for the stimulus, he emphasized that corporate executives should be prudent about how they spend any money they get from the federal government:

"You can't get corporate jets, you can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer's dime," Obama said.

Well now Oscar Goodman is angry, and he's demanding an apology from the president to Sin City.

"What's a better place, as I say, than for them to come here," Goodman told KLAS-TV. "And to change their mind and to go someplace else and to cancel - and at the suggestion of the president of the United States - that's outrageous."...

"That's outrageous, and he owes us an apology," he said. "He owes us a retraction."

I actually feel where Goodman is coming from here. I have a little extra sympathy for him because of the way his city is perceived. Obama would never have said, "You can't go to Portland, Oregon, on taxpayer money," or "You can't go to Houston." Why? Because everyone knows there are legitimate business reasons people would have for going to those cities.

And the same is true of Las Vegas. There's are tons of legit reasons a business person would need to go there. I think Las Vegas is constantly fighting the perception that the entire city is one big gambling floor, and that any business executives -- or public officials -- who attend a meeting there simply can't have worthwhile reasons for doing so.

So I get what Goodman's saying and I get where he's coming from. But demanding an apology seems extreme.

Everybody knows what Obama meant. He meant, "You can't go to Vegas for a fun, personal weekend of gambling and seeing Cirque du Soleil." And he's right -- executives shouldn't use taxpayer money for that.

Goodman's never been the shy, retiring type. But this just seems like a kerfuffle that's not worth anybody's time.

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