President Obama: 'I Love Vegas -- Always Have'

"He didn't learn his lesson the first time. But when he hurt our economy by his ill-conceived rhetoric, we didn't think it would happen again," he said, calling the president "a real slow learner."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also took issue with the repeat remarks, saying in a statement that the president "needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money."

The president quickly patched things up with the senator, insisting that he was not "saying anything about Las Vegas."

Instead, the president explained, "I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun. There's no better place to have fun than Vegas, one of our country's great destinations."

Obama is in Las Vegas partly to campaign for Reid, who is up for re-election. With Obama heading a high-ticket fundraiser for the incumbent, it's hard to imagine there is any bad blood between the two over the issue. But the mayor still feels slighted. He wants the president to make a public apology.

"We are hurting, we have people who are in foreclosures, we have people who are having a hard time feeding their families and we can't stand to have a flippant statement made," Goodman said.

ABC News' Ben Krolowitz contributed to this report.

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