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. Paula Weinstein

    Jan Brewer should be ashamed of herself for treating the President of the United States with such disrespect. Only a lowclass hack would point a finger at the President. Shame on her!

    January 25, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  2. ArtInChicago

    He should have told Secret Service to....nevermind.

    January 25, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    Is Jan "Ol' Leatherface" Brewer upset that AZ did not get it's full share of chickens during the last "bartering" session?

    Why did the Secret Service allow this psychopath to get that close to President Obama in the first place?

    AZ is the state where the knuckle draggers, believe issues can be settled by the right to "execute" their 2nd Amendment RIghts.

    January 25, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. Luke Brown

    This is what it means to be a person of color in Brewer's Arizona. She would never have spoken to President Bush that way.

    Obama has a foreign sounding name, questionable parentage, questionable birth status ... it's wonder she didn't have him arrested and detained.

    January 25, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  5. JDuffy007

    Is it possible to give AZ and Texas back to Mexico? Catch is, they have to take Jan Brewer and Rick Perry as well. Gonna have to sweeten the deal obviously.

    January 25, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. jennifer

    That was a classless act Gov. Brewer. These hateful people are making a mockery of our system. I don't see anyone insulting George Bush for lying about WMD in his face etc. It just makes me sick.

    January 25, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. Sandra Alexander

    Unbelievable! Arizona should be embarrassed by this overt disrespect for the office of the President of the United States. These republicans have no shame and they are showing just how much they despise Pres. Obama. It's appalling and Brewer should apologize.

    January 25, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. Paula Weinstein

    Jan Brewer should be ashamed of herself for treating the President of the United States with such disrespect. Shame on you Jan Brewer!

    January 25, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. vikingslost

    Oh please, let's move our country forward together.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 25, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    NO one except maybe Michelle Obama, chastses Mr. President.

    Brewer will be voted out soon, and she's just ticked that she didn't make millions in book sales.

    What a loser Arizona picked. But she IS getting a lot of kick-backs from the "Private Prisons" so she won't go hungry.

    January 25, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Obama shares intense encounter with Arizona governor
    "I thought we probably would've talked about the things… [like] “…helping one another.”
    Instead we got into a brawl and I got pissed and later decided NOT to show up at the Intel event
    I guess I showed him – Who does he think I am? – And I don’t care if he’s the president!!!

    Okay, Brewer – it’s your prerogative!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 25, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. WeThePeople

    Jan Brewer needs to show some respect for her president and also needs to learn how contain her racist antics... "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." Shame on her...

    January 25, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Jen

    I have little respect for that woman Mrs. Brewer – I live in AZ and I've have really have had enough of the mean spiritedness of our state republican leadership – they have ruined our state – and we need to get it back on track.

    January 25, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  14. Whatever

    You can dislike his BUT respect the office of the President of the U.S. She has not respect and should not be remember to keep her hands at her side...

    January 25, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. billy

    Brewer was unimaginably rude to the President and owes him an apology. Just disgraceful and embarrassing for the state of AZ.

    January 25, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. All American

    She sounds disrespectful, angry and stupid! The last I checked, we all are illegal immigrants from all over the world except for the indigenous people who are the native Americans. She needs to get over herself grumpy old lady!

    January 25, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  17. E

    You go governor Brewer finally a state governor with sense.

    January 25, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Mom to 3

    Ewww – Jan Brewer is just icky. The way she has acted as governor of Arizona I have no doubt she lied about President Obama in her book. I'm glad I don't live in Arizona!

    January 25, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. Obama Cares

    Arizona is upside down, she's one of the persons responsible. I wouldn't have talked to the ol' prune either. The repukes just keep lying to everybody. Y'all need to recall / vote her out of office.

    January 25, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. quotelawrence

    this little exchange is because Brewster is better at managing then Obama and she was telling him to mind his own business, rather then the Arizonians business,

    January 25, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Fire0bama

    0bama, you *sued* Arizona for their efforst to enforce the immigration law and you still said that you were cordial in the past? "You lie!"

    January 25, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. oneSTARman

    Grown-Ups ACT in a civilized Manner at LEAST in PUBLIC. Then there are The People like This DumbSh1t Governor

    January 25, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  23. Gino

    The wicked witch of the West. Does she know nothing about common courtesy and hospitlity. Oh, I forgot: those are outmoded virtues in the Gingrich days.

    January 25, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. steven schwab

    Unbelievable that a Governor would so disrespect a President.

    January 25, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. Gino

    Sorry. Hospitality.

    January 25, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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