Las Vegas Mayor to Obama: ‘Your Comments are Harmful’ to the City

Feb 11, 2009 2:11pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: In a two-page letter to President Obama, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman backed off statements made Tuesday that he would like an apology for comments made by the president earlier in the week about Las Vegas.

During an Indiana town Hall meeting this week, Obama complained that companies that received bailout money should not take trips to Las Vegas or the Super Bowl at taxpayers’ expense.

Rather, the mayor describes in the letter how harmful he sees the president’s comments are in feeding the "unjustified” stereotypes of his city.

"Mr. President, I understand the enormous burden you carry in dealing with the worst economy since the Great Depression,” Goodman writes. “I also understand the need for accountability, but your comments are harmful to the meetings and convention industry as a whole and Las Vegas specifically."

Goodman said that his city hosts 22,000 meetings and six million business travelers annually for an economic impact of $8.5 billion.

“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. 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,” he wrote.

Ending the letter, Goodman asked for Obama to refrain from calling out individual cities or destinations.

“That serves no purpose and only reinforces outdated stereotypes. Yes, we need accountability, but we also need some balance in the discussion.”

– Sunlen Miller

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