This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," May 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, now to Nevada, and what happens in Vegas ain't staying in Vegas, even as the president is a week away from coming to Vegas.
You know, he's meeting with everyone. Here is someone he is not, Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, who called the president on these comments made back in February.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FEBRUARY 2009)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are not going to be able to give out these big bonuses until you pay taxpayers back. You can't get corporate jets.
OBAMA: You can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Now, Governor Gibbons says those comments cost Las Vegas 400 conventions and business meetings and more than $100 million in revenue. Needless to say, the gov. ain't happy.
But he is here, and only here, and exclusively, on the phone with me right now
GOV. JIM GIBBONS (R), NEVADA: Good afternoon.
CAVUTO: ... good to have you, sir.
What have you heard, if anything, from the White House?
GIBBONS: Well, they did call. And they actually said to our office that the president will not have time to meet with the governor of Nevada.
I am shocked the president would make a remark a mark like that, and then do nothing, including meeting with the governor, in an attempt to repair the damage that his remarks caused.
I will tell you, Neil, here in Nevada, we are suffering through some extraordinary times, highest unemployment rates in decades. Hardworking, middle-class families are suffering because of what he said.
CAVUTO: Now, what he said effectively were, those on the government dole — I'm paraphrasing here, but you just heard the bite yourself — they should not be planning conventions or meetings in Las Vegas or that kind of thing.
You think just mentioning Vegas, killed Vegas?
GIBBONS: Well, I do, because that quote — the quote of the president — was seen by many as an insult to Las Vegas.
I don't think you would have heard the president say that very same thing about people going to Orlando, Florida. How about Honolulu? How about Chicago, Illinois? Nope. He singled out Las Vegas. And to many in this city, to many in this state, that was an insult.
CAVUTO: What is weird about it is, he is coming to Las Vegas, to your fine state, for a fund-raiser for Harry Reid, I believe, right?
GIBBONS: ... you know...
CAVUTO: And, so, Las Vegas is fine for that occasion.
But you are just still ticked off. And the president — it doesn't surprise me.
CAVUTO: You're a Republican. You're a critic. And he — he doesn't want to meet with you. So, it might be just personal, right?
GIBBONS: Well, I don't think so.
But I — I do see some hypocrisy in there, because it is OK for him to come to Nevada and take campaign cash from Nevadans. You know, I think he wants our money. But he discourages businesses from coming here. I think he ought to be ashamed of what he has done to the working people in my state.
CAVUTO: How do you think he is going to respond to many Las Vegas workers, public and otherwise, who have expressed your rage as well, Governor, saying that, hey, you just — you killed my job, or at least made it more risky?
GIBBONS: Well, that — that is exactly it.
You know, if unemployment gets any worse in Nevada — in fact, right now, if it were a city in the state of Nevada, it would be the fourth largest city in our state. You know, go explain to these people that, you know, 400 conventions are not coming here, 112,000 guests are not going to come.
CAVUTO: But, Governor — Governor, is — is that really his fault? I mean, if a lot of companies are cutting back, and — and they are cutting back on everything from holiday parties to special events, they're taking back workers' vacations, it would not be a stretch to say that they're going to curtail meetings and powwows, for example, at the Bellagio in Vegas, right?
Well, I mean, so...
GIBBONS: Well, let me...
CAVUTO: ... that is not a stretch to say that they would do this, apart from anything the president is saying, right?
GIBBONS: Let me — let me just point out that I have personally seen an e-mail from a government agency to one of the hotels here in Nevada, a federal government agency, saying, because of the president's point of view, they are canceling their convention or — I can't recall what — it was business meetings — here in Las Vegas.
GIBBONS: I have seen that personal note. That is not a company cutting down its spending. That is the federal government saying, because of what the president said, they decided not to come here.
CAVUTO: Well, why do you think he has it out for Las Vegas? And, like you said, he wouldn't tell them not to gather in Orlando, or not to gather, I don't know, in the Poconos or the Catskills. Why was Vegas picked on, do you think?
GIBBONS: Well, who knows?
I just — all I wanted to do was sit down with him and have him correct what he has said, so that the image is not that there's something wrong with Las Vegas or coming to Las Vegas. We are a city just like many, many other cities in the country.
You know, because it has got the name Las Vegas, it is viewed as entertainment. Well, there's a lot of people that live and work here. And when the president speaks, it has consequences. The consequence is...
CAVUTO: Well, you know what you have got to — I hear you, Governor.
What you have got to do — Vegas also has some of the finest breakfast buffets on Earth.
GIBBONS: Well, and we want you to come back.
CAVUTO: And — and that is what you have got to do. That is what you have got to do.
CAVUTO: You have got to say, Mr. President, I am going to take you to one of the breakfast buffets.
CAVUTO: And I know he is a very thin and fit guy, but I understand that he has an appetite.
Well, I might be able to broker something.
GIBBONS: You know something? If you could do that, I would even pick up the tab for the breakfast buffet.
CAVUTO: You don't want to pick up my tab, Governor. But...
GIBBONS: Well, I don't know how much you can eat, but I would still enjoy both of you being at the same table to have an opportunity sit down and talk about this.
CAVUTO: All right. All right. Governor, we will work on it.
Always a pleasure having you. Thank you very, very much.
GIBBONS: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Governor Gibbons.
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