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Obama apologises for 'Sin City' remarks

US President has contritely urged tourists to visit gambling heaven Las Vegas after his recent remarks that were interpreted as telling Americans to shun recession-battered Las Vegas.

world Updated: Feb 04, 2010 12:57 IST

US President Barack Obama has contritely urged tourists to visit gambling heaven Las Vegas after recent remarks that were interpreted as telling Americans to shun recession-battered 'Sin City'.

Obama offended Las Vegas officials during a visit on Tuesday to New Hampshire, where he warned "you don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college. His comments - the second time in 12 months that Obama has disparaged Las Vegas - drew an outraged reaction from elected officials in the hard-hit city and from Nevada's representatives in the US Congress.

"Lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who faces a tough reelection battle this year, urged the president. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a Democrat-turned-Independent, denounced Obama's "vendetta" against the city, and declared the president "has a real psychological hangup about the entertainment capital of the world."

"When he comes, I'll do everything I can to give him the boot back to Washington and to visit his failures back there," Goodman said. "This president is a real slow learner." Obama wrote Reid Tuesday to insist "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," the president said.