September 3rd, 2010
10:43 AM ET
4 years ago

Will Brewer's 'meltdown' hurt her chances?

(CNN) – It was the silence heard 'round the world.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's now infamous opening statement during a debate Wednesday night has gone viral many times over - as watching the cringe-inducing moment again and again just proves too tempting.

On Thursday, Brewer herself weighed in on what some are calling her 'meltdown,' joking with an Arizona radio station her deafening pause was the "longest 16 seconds of my life"

But will the performance prove fatal to Brewer's election bid?

Probably not, says Christina Boomer - a reporter for ABC15 in Phoenix - at least so long as Brewer is able to make light of the situation.

"The good news is it happened in early September," Boomer told CNN. "It is a long way until November. And, you know, when you cover these contests, you know a lot can happen in this stretch of time."

"What she did on a local radio show yesterday by making light of the situation …that's the kind of thing she should be doing," added Boomer. "It is laughing it off and moving forward."

Of course, Democratic opponent Terry Goddard almost has a ready-made TV ad at his disposal and will likely make every effort to ensure voters don't forget about the moment between now and November.

But Brewer – the former Arizona secretary of state who was appointed to her post in 2008 when then-Gov. Janet Napolitano joined the Obama administration – has seen her popularity grow over the months she vigorously defended the state's controversial immigration law and has a healthy 10-point lead over Goddard according to many recent surveys.

It's also likely voters might empathize with Brewer's seeming bout with nerves – after all, who hasn't been in a similar situation?

"I think at that moment, there was just a lot of empathy for her," said Boomer in describing her experience watching the debate in the pressroom. "You felt badly because a lot of us have been in that position and we know what it feels like to be there.


Filed under: 2010 • Arizona • Jan Brewer
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Don't forget about the money she and her friends will make with each person they put in their private jail.

    September 3, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This is EXACTLY what happens when you are LYING. Face it folks. People like Gov. Brewer that have their PARTY'S agendas ahead of their state's run the risk of having these DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS moments.

    Additionally, It would appear that being out in front of the cameras, knowing your subject matter, and articulating your point is NOT as easy as our wonderful President Obama makes it seem.

    Amateurs need not apply Brewer.

    September 3, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. maljazur

    I would empathize with her she'd proven herself to be an independent thinker. She's been taught to take a position, dig in and not think for herself. The sad thing is, right wingers today have agreed to exchange truth and logic for party loyalty. She doesn't HAVE to say anything that makes sense. She only has to say that her allegiance is to "conservative values." Who the h*ll knows what that even means any more?

    September 3, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Linda C - AZ

    Go Jan! You've got my vote. Don't let the critics get you down!

    September 3, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Scott

    Count on the liberal media to try to make something out of nothing. Not all politicians are good at debates. One question Mr. Carville raised in his expected bashing of the Governor is that people in Arizona should question whether she has the capability to handle a tough situation, or make a tough decision. She has already done that. She passed the an immigration bill that would force state police officials to actually enforce the laws that our country have passed. And then the democrats in Washington attack the whole state for it and sue them in court. She has made the circuits defending this bill. She can make the tough decisions, and obviously stand up to those she disagrees with in Washington. She had a bad night, it can happen to anyone. But the coverage of it by CNN shows that they have a hidden agenda, especially with the headline "Debate Debacle" they ran with the whole day yesterday.

    September 3, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    No, it will not prove fatal. Remember, this is Arizona we're talking about. That place is like West Carolina. The slack-jawed yokel "real Americans" are too stupid to pick up on stuff like that. They will vote however their TV tells them to. Have a nice day!

    September 3, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Carl Justus

    Brewer has been mouthing off about all she has done for Arizona and how she is going to stop illegal immigrants from coming into Arizona.

    She has taken the spotlight and now she must understand that the batteries are dead and accept the consequences of inability to stand up to the heat of battle when it counts.

    September 3, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. The Other Dale

    Now we'll hear from all the apologists, who will drag Obama into this by either making up quotes. The thing is this – you're on the wrong side of the argument when all you can do is EXCUSE someone for making what looked to be a totally crazed shutdown of the mind. She froze on-camera in front of everyone, giggled and then blankly starred at her hands like someone hopped up on goofballs. Afterwards, she starred off into space before walking away when questioned about some of her bizarre immigrant statement she had made that have been proven to be wrong.

    Those of you who feel it has to be her in order to dig at Obama – forget Obama! Think of who you're voting for – a woman who latched on to the immigrant issue as a way to cover-up other corruption in her administration and when caught can't even explain herself. She looks to be heading towards a breakdown. Is this really someone you want leading you?

    September 3, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Karine

    Once again CNN shows itself to be a tabloid like and sensation seeking
    news provider.
    Calling this a ' silence heard around the world " is infantile drivel.
    This makes news ?
    Just shows you that true journalism in America has become a rare event.
    It is easier to grab headlines than tackle real and important issues.

    September 3, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. vic

    Lot of inexperience candidates in GOP this time she is one of them

    September 3, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. The Other Dale

    Now we'll hear from all the apologists, who will drag Obama into this by either making up quotes or talking about a teleprompter (a device used by many presidents before him ... but I guess mentioning how often Reagan had to rely on one is too much for some).

    The thing is this – you're on the wrong side of the argument when all you can do is EXCUSE someone for making what looked to be a totally crazed shutdown of the mind. She froze on-camera in front of everyone, giggled and then blankly starred at her hands like someone hopped up on goofballs. Afterwards, she starred off into space before walking away when questioned about some of her bizarre immigrant statement she had made that have been proven to be wrong.

    Those of you who feel it has to be her in order to dig at Obama – forget Obama! Think of who you're voting for – a woman who latched on to the immigrant issue as a way to cover-up other corruption in her administration and when caught in her lies can't even explain herself. She looks to be heading towards a breakdown. Is this really someone you want leading you?

    September 3, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    She is an opportunistic lightweight!

    September 3, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. GOP for life

    She looks like Mrs. Howell from Gilligan's Island!

    September 3, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Didn't she get any debate preperation? I know that I would needed. I would have expected that given all of her public speaking would have gotten her some experience.

    September 3, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. karel

    She is another Sara Palin.. brain dead!..if you depend on her to feed your family and defend your right.. you must be crazyyyyy.

    September 3, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Sskar

    Empathy for her? How about empathy for the citizens of Arizona who might be subjected to more years of her reign of stupidity and bad decisions and sub-par leadership. We need to vote the woman out. Arizona is in bad enough shape already.

    September 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Jeff in Virginia

    Jan Brewer has been caught red-handed in her attempts to fear-monger.

    She is now a demonstrable liar.

    I do not think that the voters will let that go.

    September 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Rob

    We may have been in tough situations, but for most of us this was not running for governor. This was not avoidance of a question (one asked many times) that deserves an answer. Unfortunately, the art of appealing to the fears of people in tough economic times works. Everyone was critical of the "Americans cling to guns and money" comment, but guess what. In these tough times, we are seeing this as the tactic being used...and it is working. Sad!

    September 3, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. john

    Her hanging fire during her speech might not sink her. But maybe all that wierdness about imaginary beheaded bodies in the desert will.

    September 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Jake

    Plus after the debate she refused–refused–to answer reporters' questions about the "headless bodies." Do people want someone like this incompetent person as their state executive? If so, that speaks volumes about the electorate too. Pathetic.

    September 3, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Brewer is a LIAR!!!

    September 3, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Susan

    What will kill her chances is the fact that she has made false statements about beheadings in the desert and will not recant her statement.......there is no evidence to her statement and she will not answer any questions about it.......who would want a LIER for Govener, this is the same track that all Republicans take to get votes.....Lie about things, create stories that they have no evidence to back them up and create FEAR and try to SCARE people........and if you people in AZ vote for her you, you deserve everything you get........she is going to kill your tourisum industry and any Businesses from coming to your STATE.

    September 3, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Jerry

    Okay, I watched the entire debate. She is not fit for office. She refused in a debate to answer the questions asked. Her answers were just attacks on opponents unrelatedmto any question she was asked.

    This person is in charge of the state guard

    She doesn't have the intellect to govern

    I'm not impressed. Just because she signed a famous bill doesn't prove she is competent to govern Arizona

    No way

    September 3, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    There are two types of pauses when giving speeches. The first is the non-verbal, the type that Brewer had. Then there is the verbal, you know the ums and the ahs, the kind that Obama has. Will it hurt her? Did it hurt him?

    September 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. La Piovra

    God wot, I find her repellant, and have often said so, but her "meltdown" is nothing to be made light of. It looked like some type of either mini-stroke or petit mal, and it could be followed by the big one. She needs to run, all right... to the doctor.

    September 3, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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