President Obama – during his only public event in his 3-day Western swing – offered no apology for his comments which sparked controversy months ago over visiting Las Vegas, yet appeared to purposely give a nod to the Las Vegas tourism industry within his remarks.
The president, in February said that companies getting government bailouts shouldn’t buy corporate jets and go to Vegas when they are using taxpayer’s money, sparking much local controversy in Vegas that the president’s comments could stunt tourism in the city.
Amid backlash ever since locally, the president at Nellis Air Force Base gave a little extra attention to the city that never sleep’s tourism industry.
“There’s nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week,” the president said, “And like millions of other Americans, we come to this beautiful city for the sights and for the sounds.”
Obama said that today – he also came here for the sun – the topic of his speech focusing on energy reform, following a tour of the solar photovoltaic array on the base.
“This base serves as a shining example of what’s possible when we harness the power of clean, renewable energy to build a new, firmer foundation for economic growth. Now, that’s the kind of foundation we’re trying to build all across America.”
The base is the largest solar electric plant of its kind in the western hemisphere, with more than 72,000 solar panels providing 25% of the electricity for the 12,000 people who live and work on the base. The president used the base as an example of what could be funded by the administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – which today, the President touted – is in its 100 day of inception.
“One hundred days ago, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in half a century, we passed the most sweeping economic recovery act in history, a plan designed to save jobs, create new ones, and put money in people’s pockets,” Mr. Obama said, “And one hundred days later, we’re already seeing results."
The administration is using the 100 days anniversary of the recovery act to give themselves a pat on the back for progress made in specific regions.
“We’re just at the start of this Recovery Act. We are going to keep on going through this year and into next year because we are going to make sure that not only are we putting people back to work, that we’re laying the foundation for a better economy,” Mr. Obama said. “Even as we clear away some of the wreckage and debris of this extraordinary recession, I’ve also said that our next task is making sure that this doesn’t happen again.”
The president said that a renewable energy revolution is one of the pillars of long-term prosperity.
“We know the cost of our oil addition all too well. It’s the cost measured by the billions of dollars we send to nations with unstable or unfriendly regimes. We help to fund both sides of the war on terror because of our addiction to oil. It’s the cost of our vulnerability to the volatility of the oil markets. It’s the cost we feel in shifting weather patterns that are already causing unprecedented droughts and more intense storms. It’s a cost we can’t bear any longer.”
The President touted the recovery act’s investment into two programs to help that goal: a solar energy technologies program, and the development of the use of geothermal energy.
- Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller