Las Vegas Sun

February 23, 2019

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Oscar Goodman to speak at state GOP convention

Mayor says he won’t be able to meet with President Obama

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Oscar Goodman

Don't expect Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman to wade too deeply into partisan politics Friday -- even though he's speaking at the Republican State Convention in Henderson.

"I don't intend to make this into a political speech. That was never my intent," Goodman told reporters today at his weekly press conference. "I don't take my own personal political agenda to the public."

He also won't be meeting with President Obama during his two-day visit to the city.

The nonpartisan mayor — who was thinking about running for governor himself last year — told reporters Thursday he would stay away from talking about Republican Brian Sandoval, who is running for governor against Democrat Rory Reid.

Goodman also says he will steer clear of talking to Republicans about Obama, who is campaigning today in Las Vegas for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The mayor is expected to speak at a noon luncheon at Green Valley Ranch.

"I think I'll talk about the Mob. I'll talk about downtown redevelopment," said Goodman, a former Mob lawyer who has championed the downtown Las Vegas Organized Crime and Law Enforcement Museum, which will be open next year.

"I'll talk about what's best for the state as far as consolidation and home rule," Goodman said. "I can assure you at the end of the day, they'll be well entertained."

Goodman was asked if he would like to give to Sandoval or Rory Reid any advice in the governor's race.

"The only message I have is you have to come with specifics," Goodman said. "I think the public is anxious to hear specific proposals as to how they're going to address the $2.5-3 billion deficit."

At today's press conference, Goodman indicated that fences have been mended with the White House since February, when Goodman had refused to attend President Obama's functions in Las Vegas.

At that time, Goodman wanted the president to make an apology following Obama's Feb. 2 remark to a New Hampshire audience: "You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college."

Obama didn't offer the full apology, but did tell a large gathering of Las Vegas business leaders in February, "Let me set the record straight: I love Vegas."

The mayor seemed to indicate all is forgiven.

"I'd like a declaration of support. But I think the last time he was here he did the right thing by us. I don't hold him any grudges," Goodman said.

However, the mayor says he still won't get to meet with the president when he campaigns tonight and Friday in Las Vegas.

"I wish I could. I wish I could be out there," Goodman said.

However, the time the White House set aside for the two of them didn't work out — Goodman has already scheduled a meeting at that time with a major dignitary from the entertainment field.

"I'm meeting with Wayne Newton at 5," Goodman said. "That's been set up for over a week."

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