Goodman: Obama to talk nice about Las Vegas this week


Since February, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman has wanted President Barack Obama to say something nice about Las Vegas to make up for comments in which the president compared business trips here to frivolous spending.

He might get his wish this week.

Today Goodman said he was called by Rahm Emanuel, the president's chief of staff, and told that a presidential stamp of approval could be coming during Obama's visit Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I'm of the impression that we're going to have a very positive statement about Las Vegas being a place for businesses to come to do serious meetings and conventions," Goodman said. "That's all I have ever asked, on behalf of the city, that we hear out of Washington.

"I hope that my impression is accurate."

Obama made his remarks when talking about financial firms that received taxpayer bailout money, and used Las Vegas as an example of how not to be responsible with those funds.

"You can't take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime," Obama said at the time.

Denunciations from local leaders and tourism officials were swift. Goodman initially called for an apology, but later softened that to a hope that the president would talk about Las Vegas positively.

"He's the most important person in the world, and people listen to what he has to say," Goodman said. "When the president indicates that there is something inappropriate and unseemly about businesses coming to Las Vegas, that doesn't do us any good, and I think that's going to be straightened out tomorrow."

In a February letter to Obama, Goodman argued that Las Vegas hosts 22,000 meetings a year with 6 million business travelers and an economic impact of $8.5 billion. The meetings and convention industry employs more than 46,000 people directly, he said.

 

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.