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Bill Radke: Meanwhile, the mayor of Las Vegas says too much of that fallout has been landing on his city. The center of the convention world found itself a little off-center this week, as our senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports.
Bob Moon: The latest figures out this week show convention business here in Las Vegas off around 5 percent from a year earlier. And then, President Obama came along this week and suggested that business gatherings here are an unacceptable luxury for firms getting bailout money:
President Obama: You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime.
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman says he wants a “rectification.” He insisted at a news conference yesterday that Vegas visits shouldn’t be off limits, even if they use bailout money:
Oscar Goodman: If it’s for serious purposes and not for a vacation, but to get business done, I see nothing wrong with it.
This week, at least four big companies either canceled or relocated several million dollars in convention business. A gathering of financial bigwigs, the American Securitization Forum, did go on.
But executive director George Miller found the need to say there was nothing to be ashamed of, as they discussed freeing up the credit markets:
George Miller: No one should be defensive about being here to address those important topics, and no one should be dissuaded or discouraged from taking part in this conference. It is not only OK, it is essential.
At MGM-Mirage resorts, senior VP Alan Feldman argues Las Vegas can actually be a cheaper and more effective destination:
Alan Feldman: Companies look to have a good time, set a good tone for a meeting, and then have a productive meeting. And in that regard, we have the facilities and staff and the capability to deliver like no city in America.
Feldman argues that perhaps more than ever, now is the time businesses ought to be getting together to solve our economic ills.
In Las Vegas, I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.
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