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Jetting to Vegas to Help Out the Senate's Leader

By Scott Wilson
LAS VEGAS -- Hours after announcing Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his choice to fill the impending vacancy on the Supreme Court, President Obama partied in Las Vegas on Tuesday night - or at least partied on behalf of his party's leadership.

Obama headlined a big-ticket fundraiser at Caesars Palace for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), a favor for a powerful lawmaker who will be stage-managing the administration's health-care, clean-energy, and other legislative priorities this year.

"Hello, Las Vegas, it's good to be back," Obama began, joking that his room at Caesars this time around was better than his last. "Now that I am president, they upgraded me."

Reid welcomed the president to town, greeting his Air Force One at the airport ahead of an evening that featured singers Sheryl Crow and Bette Midler.

Reid said later that he expected 4,200 people to attend the fundraiser, and his aides estimated that it would bring in $2 million for Reid's reelection campaign. Tickets for the main event ranged between $50 and $250, but entry to a VIP reception with the president cost $2,400. A $2 million take would increase Reid's current campaign account balance by 40 percent.

After enthusiastic introductory applause for Obama, Reid told the high-roller crowd that he wished he had "the ability to explain to everyone here the pleasure it is to work with someone of your caliber."

"This man is extremely smart, he can communicate, but the best part of Barack Obama is his heart is bigger than any heart in the world," Reid told the VIPs.

Those words belied the fact that Obama and Reid have sometimes had a prickly relationship -- the senator made clear early on that he "didn't work for" Obama. Last week, Reid voted with a large Senate majority to reject the president's s funding request to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But Obama is taking the advice he frequently dispenses to the country, particularly when it comes to uncomfortable issues: He's looking ahead rather than dwelling on the past. He needs Reid to see through his complex legislative agenda, and Reid, who polls show could be vulnerable in his 2010 reelection, needs the popular president.

"He is good-looking, he is charismatic," Obama said at the fundraiser, joking with the often-dour Reid. Then, shifting to a more serious tone, Obama said that Reid has "never forgotten that there are people out there who weren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths, there are people out there who are struggling."

He praised Reid for helping pass his $787 billion stimulus bill, children's health insurance legislation, and, most recently, a credit-card consumer protection bill.

"He fights for the dreams of the people here in Nevada, and he fights for the people all across America," Obama said. "I am grateful to him and I am grateful to you because you sent him in and you're going to keep sending him in."

Not everyone was as pleased as Reid to see Obama in Nevada, and so decided not to see him at all.

Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons declined to meet with Obama, apparently still stinging over the president's warning months ago to companies that received federal bailout funds that they "can't go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime." Las Vegas tourism officials complained that hundreds of conventions were canceled in the city as a result.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in his daily briefing Tuesday that "I haven't seen many politicians meet anybody anywhere and not find it a convenient opportunity to press whatever case it is they're trying to make."

"I would suggest that, if the governor has a specific point that he'd like to make to the President of the United States, he's landing in a few hours in Las Vegas, and apparently has been invited to make that case," Gibbs said. "I'm having trouble reconciling the actions of the governor."

By Post Editor  |  May 27, 2009; 12:40 AM ET
Categories:  On the Road  
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Next: POTUS Events: Touting the Stimulus


Not much to say, a juvenile inexperienced liar gets elected, flys to Vegas to support an old tired warn out fart with a fragile mine a loud mouth that stabs our military in the back and doesn't know what it is to be poor let alone what the Constitution says and he wants to be re-elected. For what? He's one third of the problem in Washington,Pelosi and Obama round it up to a whole number.
And now thay want to corrupt the Supreme Court with a Latino women, a racist at best, and because of her empathy she's qualified, because she had a hard life she's qualified. Give me a break will ya, there is lots of us out here,black,white,jewish,catholic,gay, straight and what ever. That does not make us qualified to be on the Supreme Court and niether does it make her qualified.Her upbringing, ethnicity or empathy should not sway the thinking of a judge that is sitting on a Court thats main job is to determine the constitutionality of a law.
Judges do not make the law contrary to her self admitted belief.

Posted by: jhnjdy | May 27, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

"I find it amazing how critical the "other party" members can be when they are back against the wall with a program that is moving ahead despite their efforts to stall it at any cost."


The only problem is that you are surrounded by Lemmings and that is a cliff ahead. So yes there are those that say movement without thought is not always a good thing. Stall or stop the bail-out and spending. It is about to turn very ugly as the Fed is forced to increase interest rates. Let's see how ecstatic the Lemmings are at the bottom of the cliff.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | May 27, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Just another wasted trip on the taxpayer's dollar!

Posted by: SeniorVet | May 27, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

One comment that Obama made last night didn't make the article. This was reported by CBS News - "In the last three years, Harry has done an extraordinary job as leader of the U.S. Senate, and that's not easy, by the way", Mr. Obama said at the fund-raiser.
I find this comment particularly funny because Obama has been blasting Bush for what he "inherited", but his comment should inform the public that the Democrats were in charge of the Senate and Reid is part of the "inherited problem".

Posted by: slake2 | May 27, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

How nice, not only are we going to have to "buy" GM cars via the government's handouts whether we actually have one in our driveways or not but we also have to spend millions to fly B.O. to "Lost Wages" to stump for his fiscally irresponsible agenda.

Posted by: 65tarheel | May 27, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

You know, all this "hypocrisy of Obama" stuff is pretty lame. If there's any hypocrisy, it's coming from the ones crying "hypocrisy".
Google 'Bush republican fundraiser' if you want to view how often former President Bush flew around the country raising money for the GOP when he was president. There really isn't much difference in what Obama's doing in that regard, and although I'm not a huge fan of Harry Reid, it's not like Obama is doing something different than what past presidents have always done. Additionally, I think private companies that received bailout money SHOULD be cognizant of the lavish events they put on and I don't want my TARP tax dollars being spent by them to go party it up in Vegas or wherever.
Republicans are the first to get self-righteous about tax dollars wasted when it suits them (i.e., complaining about the ARRA), but on this one, they're talking out of both sides of their mouth. The governor is acting like a big baby.

Posted by: GEM_1 | May 27, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

It's always the same with communist leaders like Hussein Obama who tell the "common" people not to do this or that as he condemned travelling to Las Vegas a couple months ago, but then he himself comes to our town to have a good time.

And while due to Obama's comments and condemnation of Las Vegas, the city has suffered the cancellation of trips of some 111,000 tourists and Obama has therefore caused damages in excess of over a quarter billion dollars to the Las Vegas economy, he himself has just spent millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to visit fabulous Las Vegas and to have a good time.

BTW, as Nevada is at the bottom of recipients of money from Washington, Nevada is considering secession as we don't want to finance with our tax dollars a evil communist Obama regime in D.C., when we could be the most prosperous State/Country in the world. Nevada can very well exist and live without D.C. and it's consideration we Nevadans take seriously, because we don't want or need to be kicked in the pants over and over again by this arrogant Obama guy.

Posted by: scherf_com | May 27, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm proud of our President. You Sore Losermen need to get a clue.

Posted by: soonerthought | May 27, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Harry Dweeb, Jim da Gabon, and Oscar Goodscam were all elected by the informed voters of Nevada. Talk about rolling a seven.

Posted by: whocares666 | May 27, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I find it amazing how critical the "other party" members can be when they are back against the wall with a program that is moving ahead despite their efforts to stall it at any cost.

Posted by: sdexnorva | May 27, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

So the hypocrite A$$ hole in chief goes to Vegas, which he is trying to bankrupt with his anti business bias, to help another A$$ hole named Reid.

What embarrassing slugs these democ rats are.

Obviously the nitwit continues his practice of saying one thing and doing another.
Thanks to all you weak minded class envy folks who elected this disgrace.

Oh, yeah, and you paid the bill for this lowlife and his cabal to party last night. Way to go.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 27, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Reid is a mess. I understand the President campaigning for him but in the end would it really be such a bad thing if Reid was gone? I dont think so.
The Dems need effective leadership in Congress and Pelosi and Reid aren't it.

Posted by: dbeins | May 27, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

reid can't win if the govenor of the state he represents keep stating the fact that obama who reid supports has hurt their state...

Posted by: DwightCollins | May 27, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

maybe reid gets it that the good people that elected him once, is tired of him and are looking for a replacement...

Posted by: DwightCollins | May 27, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Obama was upgraded at Caesars Palace now that he is Caesar. The plane ride on AFI was also an upgrade at taxpayers' expense. The trip to Las Vegas which Obama said corporations should not take on government money, costing the town 18% of their convention business, was taken by Obama on our dime, not his

Posted by: mharwick | May 27, 2009 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama continues to tell each audience what it wants to hear, but the dishing out of the stimulus money is backfiring audibly.

His stimulus money is not so free.

Posted by: JamesRaider | May 27, 2009 3:56 AM | Report abuse

Hollywood to the rescue !!!

Posted by: drees1956 | May 27, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

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