President Barack Obama said Tuesday in a letter to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid he wasn't saying anything negative about Las Vegas.
“I was making the simple point that families use vacation dollars, not college tuition money, to have fun,” Obama said, according to the letter released by Reid’s office.
“There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country’s great destinations,” Obama said.
Reid told Obama to lay off Las Vegas after the President appeared to make light of the city's many gambling outlets while speaking at a New Hampshire town hall event Tuesday.
When times are tough, you tighten your belts, Obama said at a high school in Nashua, according to a White House transcript of his speech.
You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choice, he said.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said during a hastily called news conference that Obama is no friend to Las Vegas and would not be welcomed here if he visits.
“I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot,” Goodman said. “This president is a real slow learner.”
Obama will visit Nevada this month to campaign for Reid who faces a tough re-election bid.