Nevada Governor on Obama's Vegas Gaffe

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," February 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: 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 on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Whoops, he did it again. President Obama bashing Vegas again. He’s already apologized to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who, of course, is from Nevada.

But he didn’t apologize to my next guest, who I think he hates. He is sending a letter to tell the president to cool it with the attacks on Sin City, as it’s known.

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons joins me right now.

Governor, man, oh, man, if — if there were any doubt about what this guy thinks of you, I think he just proved it there. He didn’t even apologize to you.


And, Neil, he needs to do more than just issue an apology. This is the second time he has dumped on Las Vegas. Every time this president’s words are spoken, people listen. We lost hundreds of millions of dollars, over 400 convention and business meetings, the first time.

I have lost my sense of humor about this. It is no longer funny. It is not acceptable. I notice that there are 48 states in this country that have some form of gaming or lottery or whatever. He did not dis on any of those cities, including Chicago, Illinois.

So, when it comes to Las Vegas, this is disgraceful. It’s tasteless, it’s thoughtless. Nevada has the second highest unemployment.

CAVUTO: But do you think, Governor, that he wasn’t personally trying to slight you or his buddy Harry Reid, who he presumably likes a lot more; he was just saying look, Vegas, many people — you know, I know, obviously, Vegas has many draws...

GIBBONS: Not in the least. I mean, this guy...

CAVUTO: ... but that he’s saying you don’t want to blow money you don’t have? That’s what he’s saying.

GIBBONS: Well, you know, the principle is OK. But don’t single out Las Vegas.

What — what bothers me is, is that, you know, this guy is a very, very articulate speaker. Maybe he needed a teleprompter or something for what he was saying. But he obviously insulted every Nevadan by what he said.

We have jobs, families. We live here. This is an economy that is struggling. We’re second highest in the nation in unemployment. Don’t put an added burden on top of all of that by what you say, telling people not to show up. That’s an insult. I’m not going to accept an apology.

CAVUTO: Now, did Harry Reid condemn him? Did Harry Reid say, you know, you did it again, Mr. President, or anything?

GIBBONS: Well, basically, that’s what a he said. He said, stop picking on Las Vegas.

And, believe me, stop picking on Las Vegas is innocent enough, but when — this is not the first time. If this were the first time, I could understand that. This is not. We made a big deal — and I made it on your show — about the last time this president picked on Las Vegas.

We have had it. We’re done. This is a state that is suffering dramatically. Families are hurting. Do not add to that burden.

CAVUTO: Are things picking up, though? Are you off the mat, so to speak? I mean, some of the numbers I see — and I get them from the various cities and all – they’re – they’re looking better than they were.


GIBBONS: Well, they are, but it — this is not enough to get us out of the slump that we have been in.


GIBBONS: My gosh, after — six months after the legislative session, we’re about $1 billion short, $900 million short, of making the revenue for state-needed expenditures. We are going to have to call a special session. We’re going to have to go in, cut the budget.

It does not help this state to denigrate the tourism industry. That’s our number-one industry.

CAVUTO: All right.

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