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Obama slams Las Vegas again -- Reid upset again

President Obama is in hot water over remarks he made about Las Vegas yesterday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is just one of many Nevada politicians who took exception.
 

By Jimmy Orr / February 3, 2010

President Obama (not pictured) angered Nevadans yesterday by saying, "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college." The Groundhog's Day comment was the second time he mentioned Las Vegas in a way that the tourism community found unflattering.

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Jimmy has spent the majority of his career in politics including serving as White House Spokesman and Internet Director for President George W. Bush and Special Advisor to Gov. Schwarzenegger for Internet Communications.

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For President Obama and the people of Las Vegas it truly was a presidential version of Groundhog Day yesterday (minus Ned Ryerson).

Just like the movie where Bill Murray wakes up every morning only to find he must relive February 2 day after day after day (after day), President Obama has found himself in a bit of a time loop.

For the second year in a row, the president angered Nevadans by referencing Las Vegas in a way they'd not prefer. They like tourism. It helps with the economy. When Obama says spending money in Las Vegas is not the prudent thing to do, Nevadans get irate. And for the second February in a row, that's what happened.

"When times are tough, you tighten your belts," Obama said while giving a speech at a New Hampshire high school Tuesday.

"You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," he said. "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices."

That makes sense. What personal financial consultant wouldn't say the same thing? Well, maybe bestselling author Larry Winget. He'd probably throw in a "Don't be an idiot" line first.

Regardless, embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took offense.

"The President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Reid said in a statement. "I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas.

Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkeley concurred with Reid although to illustrate her level of ire, she threw in an exclamation point.

"Enough is enough!" Berkeley said in a statement. "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."

What's surprising is that the Vegas line made it in his speech again. Perhaps it was a different set of speechwriters this year. Or perhaps they just didn't recall the firestorm from last year.

Whatever. Obama gets it -- again. He quickly sent a note to Reid offering a quasi-apology.

"I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I wasn't saying anything negative about Las Vegas," Obama wrote. "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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