As it turns out, he likes us, he really likes us. At one point a couple of years back, the relationship between Barack Obama and our fair Valley was so chilly that it made even the happiest mayor on the planet unhappy. Now the president digs us so much that he makes regular stops, including his extended stay at Lake Las Vegas on Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in preparation for the silly season’s first presidential debate. Vegas Seven asked UNLV political scientist David Damore about the political meaning of the president’s visit.
Does President Obama’s decision to stay here to prep for the debate give any fodder to his conservative critics about the president holing himself up in a Vegas resort for three days?
Yeah, obviously they’re gonna pick on him about the travel and the use of government properties, and that’s something that comes up every four years depending on which party is in control of the White House. If you remember back to the Bush years, Democrats would make hay about all that stuff, and now it’s the Republicans turn to do it. “Selective outrage,” I guess you could call it.
Will the president get a swing-state boost by being here?
I think so. I think there is a strategic notion that his choosing to come here shows how much he cares about Nevada. Every newspaper is writing about it; you’re writing about it. I don’t think it’s a negative in any sense. Some of the polls have shown that the race is pretty close, and I think that’s probably what theirs are showing as well, so this is a way to hopefully—in his case—get some more positive attention.
Has the president repaired the damage from his “you don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college” comments from 2010?
I would like to think so, but obviously Republicans dig it up any chance they get just to recycle it. I suppose without Oscar Goodman in there [as mayor] it gets a little less play, because he made a lot of hay out of it. I think he even has a mixed drink [named the “No-Bama”] in his restaurant, but his wife hasn’t taken that line of attack.