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February 3rd, 2010
President Obama plays Daddy...go figure for a nanny state.

President Obama is catching heat from Nevada lawmakers and business leaders regarding his comments Tuesday criticizing trips to Las Vegas.

During the president's town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, he discussed the need to curb spending during tough economic times. "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," the president said. "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."

The president's comments come nearly a year after he criticized companies that received federal money for taking corporate junkets to Las Vegas. "You can't go take that trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on taxpayers' dime," he said at the time. Local business leaders say Nevada tourism suffered last year in part because companies canceled trips to Las Vegas in the wake of the president's comments.

His statement Tuesday drew sharp criticism from Nevada lawmakers. "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. "Las Vegas is suffering through one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and we cannot afford for the President to bring us down any further," added Republican Senator John Ensign. "Nevada has one of the most distressed economies in the country, and the President has done little to focus on job creation over the past year. Discouraging people from coming to our state to make a political point adds insult to injury," said Republican Congressman Dean Heller.

"Tourism is the number one economic stimulus for Southern Nevada and for many cities and states across the country. While we appreciate Las Vegas is top of mind for the President, we would ask that he offer words of encouragement instead of criticism," Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter said.



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