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Hey Obama, how about a poker class?

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Barack Obama, in his element at The Colosseum.
Photo: Leila Navidi

In the few hours since President Obama slipped another Las Vegas dig into a speech today at his New Hampshire town hall, local politicos and just plain locals have whipped themselves into a frenzy.

"This isn't how responsible families do their budgets,” the President said. “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. 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. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same.”

Ouch, Obama. Where’s the love? Apparently not in Southern Nevada. A story about the speech from the Las Vegas Sun has racked up over 80 comments both slamming and supporting the President.

Senator Harry Reid was feeling the sting of Obama’s remarks when he issued this response this afternoon: “I just spoke to the White House and told them 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,” Reid said.

Reid makes valid points — as does the President — but we’ve got another message for Obama that might take care of his Vegas-bashing once and for all: Learn to play the game.

And that game would be poker. With the right mix of skill and luck (sounds a bit like the stock market, eh?) more than a few people have made enough money for boats and college while playing poker in Las Vegas and in other legal gaming cities around the country. And, of course, some of the cash that gets "blown" in our fair city goes to the college funds of dealers, servers, valets and other casino employees who depend on tourists hitting town to fund their educations. What about them?

Rather than rake our President over the coals for ragging on Las Vegas once again, we’d like to invite Obama to take a poker, blackjack or pai gow class next time he stops by for a visit. Sure, most people who hit the casino floor don’t make enough cash to pay for a buffet, let alone a college education, but perhaps getting to know our city and its major industry a little better would lead the President to bite his tongue next time it comes to Vegas, instead of going for the throat.

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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