Las Vegas Sun

January 19, 2018

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At Lake Las Vegas, ‘We’re not doing anything different’

Visit is low-key in community surrounding president’s hotel


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

President Barack Obama visits the Hoover Dam while taking a break from debate preparations Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.

Obama Visits Hoover Dam

President Barack Obama talks to the media while visiting the Hoover Dam during a break from debate preparations Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Obama at Desert Pines High

President Barack Obama waves to supporters while arriving at a campaign event Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 at Desert Pines High School. Launch slideshow »

Obama Visits Henderson Campaign Office

President Barack Obama, right, sits down with volunteers to make phone calls to supporters during a visit to a local campaign office, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Henderson, Nev. Launch slideshow »

Map of Westin Lake Las Vegas

Westin Lake Las Vegas

101 Montelago Blvd, Henderson

The most powerful man in the world has been staying at Lake Las Vegas, but about the only signs of his presence above the funereal quiet have been figures standing on cliffs, unfamiliar boats in the lake, and conspicuous roadblocks manned by men with thick necks and ear pieces.

Even though President Barack Obama has been just around the corner preparing at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort for his upcoming debate against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, no one at Lake Las Vegas seems to really care.

“We’re doing what we always do. We’re not doing anything different,” a shopkeeper said.

A server at the casino grumbled, “All it does is affect traffic.”

Employees of Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas have seen the long motorcades and waited at roadblocks for 30 minutes at a time. But none of them have seen the president.

“Oh, yes. I do know (he’s here). I heard it on the news,” the server said.

But how do you know, for sure, that he’s really here?

“Well, everybody knows.”

A ride up to the Westin, where the president has pretty much been cloistered since Sunday, yields no sightings of Obama, either.

A man with a thick neck and wearing a blue polo shirt turns away sports cars, sedans and 18-wheeler trucks. His cohorts wait under a tent behind a pickup truck that blocks the entrance.

A mile away, back near the casino, shopkeepers at the Village at Lake Las Vegas know about the VIP in the area. The streets are empty, though, as they usually are in the middle of a weekday.

The only presence the president has at the shops is a single strand of hope in the minds of shopkeepers that maybe, just maybe, he might make an unannounced visit. After all, Bill Clinton has been to the Village.

Karen Saunders, 58, owner of the Turquoise Door and three other shops, is one of those hoping for a surprise presidential visit.

Saunders even picked out some jewelry for the first lady.

“I hope she would wear a turquoise piece,” she said. “She would look fabulous in turquoise.”

Management at the Westin provides curt responses to questions about the president’s visit. When calling, after two dead ends and five transfers, a humorless hotel manager’s answer to questions about Obama’s visit: “We have no comment.”

Before midday Wednesday, all will return to normal. The president is leaving Lake Las Vegas behind for his debate in Denver.

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