January 25th, 2012
07:46 PM ET
3 years ago

Obama shares intense encounter with Arizona governor

Chandler, Arizona (CNN) - When the president arrives in any city, he is usually welcomed by state and local officials at the bottom of the stairs to Air Force One with normal pleasantries and handshakes. But in Phoenix Wednesday, the president had an unusual moment with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

She and Obama had an intense encounter as the president was getting ready to board his motorcade. Pool reporters noticed the two were interrupting each other and at one point, the governor was pointing her finger at the president as she spoke.

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The issue?

As Obama greeted Brewer, he expressed his disappointment with the book she published last year, "Scorpions for Breakfast," which discusses border control and immigration in Arizona, among other issues.

Brewer told reporters on Wednesday night that Obama was "disenchanted" with the way he was portrayed in the book.

"Bottom line is that I wanted to be there to welcome him, to come and see first hand what Arizona has done in regards to our economic recovery," said Brewer. "He wanted to talk about the book and I thought that he was pretty thin-skinned..."

Brewer, who said she felt "a little bit threatened" during the encounter, also said that Obama walked away from her in mid-sentence. 

Brewer, a Republican who became governor at the beginning of Obama’s term, told reporters the president took offense with her portrayal of him not being cordial in the past.

"I have all the respect in the world for the office of the President, but the book is what the book is," she said.

She handed him a letter welcoming him to Arizona and inviting him to meet with her to discuss Arizona's comeback.

The White House responded by saying Obama would be glad to have another meeting, but noted "after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book. The President looks forward to continuing taking steps to help Arizona's economy grow."

After the 2010 meeting, CNN interviewed Brewer as she was leaving the White House. She said she was "encouraged" by the meeting and described it as a "successful" encounter. To watch the video, click here.

The two met in the White House in June 2010 and have been at odds over immigration. Brewer filed a lawsuit accusing the Obama administration of not controlling and enforcing border issues. The suit was dismissed by a federal judge last fall.

President Obama was in Arizona to visit the Intel facility in Chandler on the first day of his three-day, five-state tour. He was reiterating his message about American manufacturing and job creation from Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

Intel's Ocotillo campus was touted as an example of a company creating thousands of jobs in the new $5 billion facility.

Brewer did not join the president at Intel for the event. She told reporters she had hoped to talk about other issues.

"I thought we probably would've talked about the things that were important to him and important to me, helping one another. Our country is upside down. Arizona was upside down. But we have turned it around. I know again that he loves this country and I love this country," she said.

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Filed under: Arizona • Jan Brewer • President Obama
soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. Norm

    This woman is a disgusting little harpie.
    Arizona should be embarrassed to have this witch as their governor.
    Go figure...this is where McCain comes from too.
    Must be something in the water.

    January 26, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. MrMEW55

    C'mon you bigoted pinhead – didn't you REALLY mean to say that the President of the United States is BLACK-skinned?

    January 26, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. FedUp

    Go Jan! If the President doesn't like the way he is portrayed, then maybe he should change his stance on illegal immigration. If he was attacking her, he deserved to be attacked in response. Respect for the Office is given. Respect for the person has to be earned. Too bad I don't live in Arizona or I would vote for Jan.

    January 26, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. Frank from Gilroy

    She thinks she is a reality show contestant. And this is going to get her some sort of publicity benefit. What an idiot she is. But the lap dog GOP tea party faithful will lap this up like the slitheren they are. What a joke this element of our society is. Hate, Fear and Misinformation and now reality game show tactics.

    January 26, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. why so much hate

    Whether you like President Obama or not, he is the PRESIDENT! Thats like me going into my supevisors office and putting my finger in her face. Thats total disrespect. You dont have to agree with him but there is a way to handle everything and I dont think putting your hand or finger in someones face President or not is professional. Now if he had his finger in her face, he would be booted out of office.

    Show some respect!

    January 26, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. WiredweirdinSF

    The poor woman must not realize that the right to express your opinion about the president of the United States has been taken away. This inept, incompetent, corrupt union toady does not like criticism and will punish people like Castro and Chavez, his role models. Of course the liberally biased media will skewer her for saying anything against their hero as will the dope addicts and welfare frauds that make up his supporters.

    January 26, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  7. don

    Well, I guess this will be the last time anyone with any power and responsibility speaks frankly to "Govenor Blabbermouth". Is Brewer the Governor of a state, or a gossip columnist?

    January 26, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. G

    From day one the republicans have exhibited blatant contempt and disrespect for President Obama. And, this is clearly evidenced by Brewer's insolence and bold disrespect towards President Obama, and her brazen disregard for the office of the president. This behavior shows a lack of class on Brewer's part.

    January 26, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. Frank from Gilroy

    DEMs had a right to treat GW Bush this way since he was an idiot and doing his best to make a mockery of America.. But they never did. Here President Obama is trying to fix their mess and he is treated like the Devil. Its shameful but the GOP has none.
    GOP Mission Statement – Make the RICH RICHER!

    January 26, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. Oy Vey Az

    Welcome to Arizona. Where brown men are jailed because of their color, and the state is governed by a junk-yard-dog.

    January 26, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I would not be at all surprised if she was put up to this by her GOP corporate masters. The GOP has made it their business to PUBLICLY demean and disrespect THIS PRESIDENT. It started with making him and his family take up residence in a hotel prior to occupying the White House because they had booked Blair House to some dignitary. It continued with his first SOTU with Joe Wilson.
    They have shown incredible contempt for this man and GOP leaders have allowed this behaviour to go unchecked.
    Yet rest assured WE Americans will vindicate our President in November when we re-elect him and hand GOPers their walking papers from Congress.

    January 26, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    This woman is crazy and disrespectful of the office of POTUS. You do not have to agree with a person's politics or even their personality, but you do you have to respect the office. I am glad that Pres. Obama took the fist option and simply turn and walk away, instead of descending to her level and yelling at her in public.

    January 26, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  13. jswang

    First a GOP Congressman calls him a liar at his first state of the union address and now this governor pointing her finger in the presidents face. I have never seen anything like this in my 33 years alive. I hate to say it's racial but dang really I have no choice. The Gop have no respect for our president. The Tea Party, Fox news, etc. disrespect the President on a daily basis and then she claims she respects him in her statement. There's no way she respects him if she did she wouldn't have put her finger in his face. This really needs to change. If the president was white really do you think this would have happened? President Obama is way better than a lot of people because there is no way she would have put her hands in my face without me knocking it out the way and me giving her a piece of my mind.

    January 26, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  14. hurryup 2012

    Obama is a jerk.......gets off plane and 1st thing he says is that he had a problem with her book? He is an arrogant narcissist and I pray to God that this county is smart enough not to give him a 2nd term.

    January 26, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    If Brewer was looking for campaign donations, she's got 'em by the bucket loads now. Isn't that a shame?

    January 26, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  16. JustWho

    does she think she is? Like it or not HE is the president. Seems she can't have a conversation without pointing fingers – any conversation, not just this one. She didn't learn any of Emily Post's manners.

    January 26, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  17. ru serious

    How ironic, the Dems disrespected BOTH G. Bush and the office of Presidency for years and now they are moaning and groaning that their arrogant and petulant empty suit guy got an earful. Give me a break. I wasn't a supporter of Brewer but gotta say I am now.

    January 26, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. Concerned

    As the old saying goes, Jan Brewer is "talking out of both sides of her mouth." She starts by saying she was there to greet the President and to talk about the economic recovery of Arizona. But then she deflects blame and says the President changed the subject to her book. No he did not! Jan Brewer asked the President if he read her book. As a result, the President told her what he thought; if Jan Brewer does not want to hear the truth, then do not ask! The President thought, in her book, she mis-characterized their meeting at the White House and he let her know about it AFTER she asked him if he read her book. She needs to get a clue and stop being a Maytag wash machine and STOP SPINNING the point as if the President is to blame in this situation. She is trying to make it look like she is the mature person in this matter. Please! If you can't take criticism, then do not ask what people think of your work or find another line of work!

    January 26, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. Amy

    You go girl....It is nice to see someone can acctually make a decision and stand by it.

    January 26, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. Concerned

    Also, she needs to show more respect to him as the President of the United States. How dare you!

    January 26, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  21. O12

    "He wanted to talk about the book and I thought that he was pretty thin-skinned..."

    Brewer, who said she felt "a little bit threatened" during the encounter, also said that Obama walked away from her in mid-sentence. So which is it Brewer he's thin-skinned but yet you feel threatened, oh please give me a break. She has no respect for the President, take note AZ. If she does this to the POTUS, what will she really do?

    January 26, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. Hangar13

    That's disgusting, after the classy way all the Democrats were so respectful to President Bush. Oh wait, never mind. (You Kool-Aid drinking commenters must not have any memory – that stuff is bad for you.)

    January 26, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. Frank from Gilroy

    Yeah, Helping one another. The back stabbing GOP has left this guy out to dry so many times he flinches now everytime the GOP says they want to work together.

    January 26, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  24. seebofubar

    The truth is that Obama doesn't deserve to be on the same tarmak as Brewer. He is an arrogant self serving con man who has most of the low IQ democtats fooled. The sooner this disgrace to our country is booted out the better off we'll all be.

    January 26, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. Susan

    No matter what was being discuss between Jan and President Obama makes it right for this woman to stick her finger in the Presidents face....so disrespectful!!!! I am sure she would not want anyone to do the same to her. Anyone who condone such a action should be ashame of themselves!!!! This is the first sitting president that I have seen been given no respect from the Gop and some Dems. We all know why he is being disrespectful and just beacuse of that he will get 4 more years..just to make the GOP go crazy!!

    January 26, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
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