Obama Rolls the Dice on Vegas Fundraiser Trip

In a two-page follow-up letter, Goodman said, "The assumption that all meetings, event and incentive travel are wasteful is wrong."

"Now more than ever, we need businesses to ravel and hold meetings and events," Goodman wrote. "As we move forward, I would caution all federally elected officials to use temperance in their comments. Failure to deed the principles will damage an entire industry, and select cities, causing people to lose their jobs and homes."

At a Senate panel examining "tourism in troubled times" earlier this month, Sam Gilliland, CEO of Travelocity's parent company Sabre Holdings, said improving energy policy and modernizing air traffic control are among several factors that would boost tourism.

"We must also give corporations the confidence that they can once again hold business meetings and conventions in order to achieve their corporate objectives," Gilliland added.

Indeed, the president's comments weren't the only ones that have angered the travel and tourism industry in recent months. Vice president Joe Biden also got an earful from the travel industry when he veered off message on swine flu concerns, saying he'd advise his own family not to take public transit.

In Las Vegas, particularly, Mitchell today said people are understandably still irked by the president's remarks this winter.

"It's hard not to be because it's cost a lot of business and a lot of jobs," he said. "I think they're still smarting from it, but I also think the president has paid attention to the concerns of the industry."

"We think that the president's comments were off-the-cuff and potentially misdirected and potentially even misunderstood," Lefkowitz said. "But we believe that Vegas is a great place to do business."

Singers Bette Midler and Sheryl Crow are also expected on stage tonight for Reid's fundraiser at the Coloseum at Caesar's Palace.

ABC News Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7679813. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7679813. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7679813. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 7679813.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...