Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Obama v Vegas, Part II

UPDATE: Obama sent Reid a letter. Not really an apology. Very weird, actually. Kinda makes it worse.

Sigh. Barry, Barry, Barry. TheHill.Com is reporting that President Obama, at a town hall today in New Hampshire, said this:

"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."

Sound vaguely familiar? Maybe that's because Obama took a licking for months over LAST February's invocation of Las Vegas as an example of inappropriate travel in a speech in Indiana. That time, he said that banks who take bailout money from the government shouldn't use the money for junkets and stuff. The exact quote was:

"You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take that trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime."

The first time, he was taken apart by Mayor Goodman and others for allegedly implying that all business travel by everyone to Vegas should be a recessionary no-no. Goodman took the remarks out of context and the media allowed him to do so and out of context remains where they've stayed.

Justified or not, that's the history. So for Obama to get up again and make discouraging remarks about travel to Vegas is quite ill-advised. His point, that people shouldn't indulge in luxuries they can't afford could be stated in many other ways without directly referencing a specific place, especially one that's in so much economic pain right now. Trust us, Mr. President, people have already cut out their Vegas visiting.

So Obama is about to nailed for it. In spectacular fashion. I'm surprised R-J Publisher Sherm Frederick hasn't gotten to it yet, but maybe he tripped on a puddle of his own drool.

Irony: This was supposed to be a good day for Obama in Las Vegas. By most accounts, today he and Sen. Harry Reid killed the Yucca Mountain nuke dump project. Oh well.


Anonymous said...

Obama's $1.6 Trillion budget deficit is more than ten times bigger than Bush's last year in office. Obama should be getting the country's cash in order.

Anonymous said...

You should include Reid's comments:

"The President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.

Harry Reid is committing political suicide for Obama and all he gets for his troubles is a rhetorical knife in the back.

Just out of curiosity did Culinary Union support Obama during the general (my recollection is that they supported H. Clinton in the state caucus/primary)?


Jerry said...

Actually, the deficit is expected to be $200b higher than last year's. That's only 15 percent higher. (Since you're obviously bad at math, 10 times would be 10,000 percent higher. Duh.) Go back to your hole, wingnut.

Anonymous said...


Bush spent less money and he got more for it. Fought 2 wars against terrorists, did some regular Jack Bauer $#!T, and got me plenty o' I-raqi oil in my car.

What I got with the Obamination? Unemployment, Chinese people and their yappy lil dogs, and he's trying to give my money to illegal immigrants. Also furthermoreso he's created global warming because he thought DC was too cold. It don't make much cents does it?

Anonymous said...

I think Barack is using Vegas as a shorthand word for gambling. What else is there to do in Vegas? Yeah, there's shows, but basically it is a gambling mecca that couldn't survive without gambling revenue. And he's absolutely right. People do cut out discrectionary spending in tough times, including travel. Most importantly they cut gambling, or they should. Though it might be ironic and hypocritical when so many locales are trying to lure Indian casinos to balance their strapped budgets on the backs of the lower classes by luring them to gamble even more. That's one of the least-covered stories about the business loss in Vegas: Indian gaming. It's killing South Lake Tahoe and Reno in northern Nevada, and I have to think it's not helping Vegas one bit. And that is the fault of the federal government (IMO, a very misguided, inequitable attempt to make up for past transgressions against Native Americans, that's "Walmartizing" gambling and hurting local communities in the process, while only helping a select few of the NA population).

Anonymous said...

So Steve we SHOULD blow a bunch of cash in Vegas if we're saving for college.

Thanks for the tip.

mike_ch said...

Screw us. If we're upset by what he said, then that just shows that we aren't very good financial planners (which is no surprise to the people in the rest of the country.)

Like I said on FB, nobody outside of Nevada will be angry with him about this. For petes sake it's actually good advice, but even if he was less specific and said "maybe if you gamble, you should lower your bets and put some money aside for your future" people would complain.

The only reason Nevadans are unhappy is that our entire future is tied to this one enterprise, and when the Nevadans who legalized gambling passed the legislation, they knew that gambling was unpopular and the industry would be badmouthed from other corners of the nation.

For better or for worse, this is our bed, and we sometimes have to lie in it.

Steven said...

Obama should stop making accurate and obvious recommendations for personal finance! His truthful assessment is going to offend people!

We here in Las Vegas do not care that your last dollar was intended for tuition. Blow it here! We'll take it. We are not about people. We are about money. Don't you forget that. We'll demand an apology from the President to make sure everyone knows that!

AccessVegas.com said...

Sherm has blogged (although nothing earth shaking): http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/sherm/Dont_visit_Las_Vegas_Mr_President_I-Can-Do-No-Wrong_.html

Harry needs to do more than make a call for an apology. Reid better get in front of the television cameras and express some real outrage (which I have yet to see at this hour).

On the flip side... with Obama's disapproval rate, perhaps more people will come to spite Obama.

Anonymous said...

Jerry: Last year's budget was also Obama's responsibility. Remember, Bush did not pass the 2009 budget and deferred to Obama. Obama's 2010 budget is ten times larger than Bush's last year in office. This is true.

Anonymous said...

"You can't get corporate jets. You can't go take that trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime."

"The first time, he was taken apart by Mayor Goodman and others for allegedly implying that all business travel by everyone to Vegas should be a recessionary no-no. Goodman took the remarks out of context and the media allowed him to do so and out of context remains where they've stayed."

Considering that Wynn lost State Farm, which was not part of TARP or TALF, for how many million because of the Vegas image, I don't think the Obama criticism is out of context. Also my memory says that a fully paid for convention at Mandalay Bay left town for San Francisco (it may have been a Goldman Sachs event). I used to attend a yearly convention for a specialty finance sector in Vegas that has now moved to Santa Monica, Chicago, and NYC after years in Vegas. I really doubt these are all coincidences considering the price talk for holding an event in Vegas. Leven from LVS spoke about it the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analyst meeting and said prices were down substantially (a 70% decline in pricing was a specific reference for an offer made for one meeting).

You are welcome to believe what you like, but there is more than circumstantial evidence Obama has put a chill on Vegas trips for anything related to the finance industry and, it seems, for others as well.


mike_ch said...

Obama may have made people realize the obvious. The reason these business trips are here is because of a thick layer of BS that this town exists to have fun and not to fleece people.