Thursday, February 4, 2010

President Obama Invited to Las Vegas by LVMS After Comments

by Staff

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is inviting President Barack Obama to give the command to start the engines for the Shelby American NASCAR Sprint Cup race Feb. 28.

The invitation is in response to Obama comments during a speech Tuesday to high school students: “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 choices.”

The comments have caused a furor in the city.

“It’s a shame that the president doesn’t realize the impact of tourism on the Las Vegas economy,” LVMS President Chris Powell said. “Telling people not to visit Las Vegas is the same as telling them not to buy vegetables would be to a farmer in the Midwest – or telling them not to buy cars would be to an autoworker in Detroit.

“On the last weekend of this month, NASCAR Weekend at the speedway will bring in more than $150 million to the local economy. It will generate 3,000 jobs at the speedway alone. Hotels in town have reduced room rates. We’ve reduced ticket prices. And the races themselves will be a showcase of American know-how and ingenuity”

LVMS is a track operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc., whose chairman Bruton Smith has been critical of Obama policies.

Smith was asked last March if he would invite to Obama to a race.

“What? I’m sorry I misunderstood the question,” Smith quipped before saying, “We have a lot of people on the list and I really don’t know whether he’s on the list or not.”

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