Monday, February 22, 2010

President Obama: 'I love Vegas!'

Is it time to declare victory in the war against the AIG Effect? A major battle was won on Friday when President Obama stood before the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and said:

Now, before I go any further, let me set the record straight: I love Vegas! (Applause.) There you go. Always have. Love Vegas. (Laughter.) Enjoy myself every time I've gotten an opportunity to visit. In fact, just last night, I drew a flush on the river and cut the budget deficit in half. (Laughter.) Some of you know I can play some poker. (Laughter.)

Now, I did receive a little bit of heat, I know, from maybe some in this room, when I said that folks shouldn't blow their college savings in Vegas. That doesn't mean I don't love Vegas. It wasn't meant to be a shot. I think everybody here would agree that the only place where people should spend their college savings is in college. (Applause.) There's no contradiction there.

But, look, I understand how hard things have been here. In the worst economic turmoil that we've faced in generations, Las Vegas has been at the eye of the storm. When the economy suffers, the tourism industry is deeply affected; in fact, you've seen perhaps the steepest drop in tourism in the state's history. And I know things are starting to bounce back, but it's been tough going. When folks are hurting and don't have the money to spend on a night out or a weekend getaway, that hurts the broader economy as well. So what happens in Vegas reflects what's happening across America.

Outstanding. Now we just need someone to develop a foolproof, universally accepted equation for calculating and communicating ROI for events.

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