There Must Be Muslims In Las Vegas…

…because otherwise Barack Obama wouldn’t be apologizing to the people of that recession-beseiged city for statements he made during a Tuesday Town Hall equating trips to Vegas with wasting money.

The offending remark read as follows:

“When times are tough, you tighten your belts,” Obama said. “You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you’re trying to save for college.”

It was the second time since his inauguration that Obama has demeaned Las Vegas in such a way, and – to put it mildly – it didn’t go over well with the locals.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who yesterday had no comment about Obama’s skin color or desire to speak in ebonics, offered up a relatively sharp edge in his response…

“That while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn’t be spending their money.”

But while Reid popped off at the president, Vegas mayor Michael Goodwin went nuclear. In a hastily-called press conference, Goodwin all but declared war on Obama, who is supposed to be taking a trip there later this month.

“Every time he talks about people spending money in Las Vegas, it has to hurt us,” he said. “It’s a natural consequence of his statement.”

Asked if he thought the president might have just made a slip of the tongue, Goodman said that being negative about Las Vegas must be in his mindset.

“He’s got his own psychological quirk up there about Las Vegas,” Goodman said. “That’s our town, folks. You should be angry about it, too.”

“I want the president to straighten this out,” Goodman said. “If not, he’s not welcome in my city, as far as I’m concerned. He’s not our friend. I don’t know about people in Nevada, but in Las Vegas, he’s sure not our friend.”

Goodman said he didn’t care if he received criticism again for going after the president.

“What? Little weenies are going to criticize me? Forgetaboutit. I could care less about that,” he said. “I’m the mayor, I’m trying to protect Las Vegas. And I don’t care what these little pundits say.”

“I think he has a psychological hangup about us,” he said. “Because apparently, these statements are not the ones that are on the monitors. He does fine on the monitors. You get him off the monitors and Las Vegas creeps into his mind. He’s got a problem with us. I don’t know what it is.”

The mayor said Obama shouldn’t plan to visit Las Vegas until he’s retracted his statement. Goodman said he didn’t plan to meet with President Obama in a meeting this month to Las Vegas.

“Not without an apology, no.”

(Hat tip: Patterico.)

Quickly came a crawfishing, Cairoesque response from a president desperate for beer summit-style damage control:

“I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I 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. There is no place better to have fun than Vegas, one of our country’s great destinations. I have always enjoyed my visits, look forward to visiting in a few weeks, and hope folks will visit in record numbers this year.”

Obama without question ran a brilliant campaign in 2008 and capitalized on several rare opportunities afforded him. Since his inauguration, though, he’s been anything but brilliant – in fact, the president comes off as a supreme dope as often as not of late. From issuing obvious, provable lies in his State of the Union speech on major subjects like energy and the budget to completely botching the Abdulmuttalab affair, Obama is not instilling in the American people the kind of confidence that would make him a convincing authority on where Americans should be spending what money his administration doesn’t confiscate through the crushing taxation it proposes.

Or maybe Obama is more devious than dumb. Perhaps his apparently-stupid comment about Vegas was designed to give Reid a chance to shoot back at him and look like he’s defending his constituents by sassing the president. Reid will need a lot more help than that if he’s to have any chance of being re-elected, but it’s something.

Either way, the entire controversy is a classic example of a president who has diarrhea of the mouth and thinks he’s entitled to lecture his subjects on how and where they should spend their money. Obama managed a bump in the polls coming out of his State Of The Union address last week, but between the disgraceful budget proposal he put forth this week and the unnecessary Vegas flap it’s likely his bounce will turn out to be of the dead-cat variety.

After all, it’s only Wednesday.

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