The last time Barack Obama appeared at Cox Pavilion’s indoor arena at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, it was in 2007 and he was debating half a dozen Democratic Party rivals who wanted to be president.
On Thursday, the public is invited to hear President Obama address a Cox Pavilion crowd as the incumbent works to keep his White House job for another four years.
Although Obama’s 10th visit to Nevada as president is billed as an official trip, he has been using his stops this election year in the battleground state to sell his policies to voters.
Last month, the president visited Reno to promote his housing programs. In January and March, he promoted clean energy during stops in Las Vegas and outside Boulder City.
Thursday’s visit comes as Obama airs a new TV ad in Nevada and eight other swing states attacking his GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney’s record when he was governor of Massachusetts.
“Remember, we’ve heard it all before,” the ad narrator warns, urging voters not to believe Romney when he says he can create jobs and turn around the economy if elected president. A decade ago, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation under Romney, the ad said.
The Romney campaign battled back by putting forward Nevada business owners who said four more years of Obama would spell economic disaster. They cited high unemployment, tax uncertainty, excess regulation and the new health care law, which they said has added to their employee insurance costs.
Tim Wulf of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in Reno said the new health care law cost his company about $80,000 more. He said he had to close one of three shops because of hard economic times instead of expanding to six restaurants as he had planned before the crash.
Debbi Somers, owner of Somers Furniture, hosted Romney when he visited Las Vegas last week to tout his experience as the leader of Bain Capital and the Salt Lake City Olympics. Four years ago, Somers was an Obama supporter, but she said she has lost trust in him.
“We face losing employees,” said Somers, who cut her workforce in half to 20 workers.
The Nevada Democratic Party answered by offering two small-business operators who back Obama and the health care law, which is designed to help cover uninsured Americans and lower costs.
Bryce Krausman, owner of DW Bistro in Las Vegas, said he was able to start his business thanks to tax credits Obama offered under the Hire Act. Krausman said that he saved $10,000 his first year and that his business has grown so much he is planning to open a second location in downtown Las Vegas.
Ron Nelsen, owner of Pioneer Overhead Door, said that his business also took advantage of Obama tax credits and that his employee health care costs went down for the first time by $5,000.
“Romney economics is the last thing we need in Nevada,” Nelsen said.
Obama will make his own case when he visits UNLV for Thursday’s 12:50 p.m. event. The arena can hold 2,500 to 3,100 people. White House officials would not say how many tickets will be available.
Contact Laura Myers at email@example.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.OBAMA TICKETS
Here’s how to get free tickets on a first come, first served basis at the Cox Pavilion box office, located in the breezeway on the ground level between the Cox Pavilion and the Thomas & Mack Center. Only one ticket per person will be distributed.
■ Today, 1 to 4 p.m., tickets for college and university students.
■ Today, 4 to 6 p.m., tickets for the public.
■ Wednesday, noon to 4 p.m., tickets for both students and the public.