Las Vegas heavyweight Steve Wynn, a self-described Democratic businessman, unloaded on the White House this week, blaming President Barack Obamas political philosophy for the nations stagnant job growth and poor business climate.
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The comments underscore the tense relationship between corporate America and the White House, and come as Washington is paralyzed by the tense negotiations to raise the nations debt limit.
I believe in Las Vegas. I think its best days are ahead of it. But I'm afraid to do anything in the current political environment in the United States, said Wynn, who was responding to a question during his company's earnings conference call about expanding in Vegas.
Wynn, 69, is worth an estimated $2.3 billion as of this year, up from $1.5 billion previously, according to Forbes. In 2006 he was named as one of the worlds 100 most influential people by Time. Wynns casinos include the Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Macau and Encore.
In particular, Wynn criticized Obama for a lack of leadership and Washington for excessive regulation and escalating health-care costs.
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I'm telling you that the business community in this company is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States, Wynn said. And until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs.
The blunt comments were surprising considering Wynn has been a frequent supporter of Democrats in the past, including donating to Sen. John Kerrys run for the White House in 2004 and supporting a number of other key Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
According to the web site NewsMeat, Wynn has given more than $87,000 to Democrats and $233,730 to Republicans. However, Wynn donated to Sen. John McCain in the 2008 race, giving him $2,300.
Everybody's afraid of the government, and there's no need to soft peddling it, it's the truth. It is the truth, said Wynn. And that's true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid. I support Democrats and Republicans.
After hitting a 52-week high earlier, shares of Wynn were down 1.89% to $161.77 Tuesday afternoon, cutting their 2011 rally to 59%.