Words matter. The words of a president matter a whole lot.

So when President Obama chastised corporate America for holding conferences in Las Vegas in bad economic times, he should have known his utterances would hurt the Nevada economy. The state is suffering from a $100 million loss after the Obama comments. He apparently doesn't care.

Now that the president is headed out to Nevada to raise money for the increasingly unpopular Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Gov. Jim Gibbons has asked Obama to meet with a few folks and try to walk back his earlier statements that helped tank the Vegas tourism and business conference trade. The governor wants to do everything possible to stem the tide of the sinking economy in his state (as any governor would) and has requested the president's help.

Obama has refused. Gov. Gibbons is furious, and he has every right to be. He is now appealing to Reid to use any influence he may have so that something can be done to help ameliorate the damage before the summer vacation season begins and the state economy suffers even more.

If President Obama's personal pride is more important to him than the citizens of Nevada and the state's collapsing economy (due, in part, to Obama's verbal carelessness and callousness), then it is fair game for discussion in the political arena. He may be able to write off his initial comments as a slip of the tongue. But refusing now to take this one small step to help the Las Vegas tourism trade is quite nearly unforgivable.

Democrats criticized President George W. Bush when, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he urged us all to shop till we drop and try to keep our economy afloat so that the terrorists would not achieve one of their goals — to cripple the U.S. economy. Shouldn't President Obama do the same?

If a business getting a stimulus package or bailout boost can help strengthen its bottom line with a Vegas conference, and boost the state's economy at the same time, shouldn't Obama applaud that? Obama is finding out, little by little, that despite all the ridicule of President Bush from his cohorts on the left, he just may have been onto something.



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