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.

CNN LIVE: Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Republican Party of Florida Debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the Florida primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker

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.

Also see:

Live blog: 2012 State of the Union

New Freddie Mac contract prohibits 'lobbying activities'

Romney resets image with postcards from the edge

Gingrich gets major help


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

    Gov. Brewer should be admonished by the good citizens of Arizona and told that the Office of the President is not to be demeaned.

    January 25, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Stentor

    Arizona – Land of retirees, snowbirds, & cranky old whackjobs, Goldwater, McCain, Brewer, Pearce. Good thing Gabby Giffords is working to break that mold

    January 25, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Vin Dicated

    Brewer has an AZ high skool edukashun and no sense of protocol or diplomacy. I, too, have an AZ high skool edukashun but I would never be so rude to any sitting President, even if I didn't like the fellow's policies.

    January 25, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. snowyowl

    This woman should be in prison.

    January 25, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. sara

    Hope her false teeth wasn't "clicking" disrespectful prune.

    January 25, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Mr. Wilson

    First of all, "but' means forget everything I just said, as in "I have all the respect in the world for the office of the President, but...".

    In other words, it's her book and she'll write what she feels like writing. Accurate or not.

    January 25, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Ed Fl

    The President should have given her a trick or treat piece of candy and reminded her that Holloween is usually in October and she could have been arrested by the secret service for wearing that ugly mask she seems to wear all the time. She needs to be returned to the States borderline and pushed her over it into Mexico.

    January 25, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. RAMBLE

    All news reports on Obama must be of a highly positive nature. Be advised.

    January 25, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. MoeL

    Jan Brewer, in my opion, is a pure P O S. How dare she point her teabag finger at President Obama. She dared to point that teabag finger at President Obama when he has deported more illegal people than our last President. I ask you, what is wrong with this picture? Hopefully Brewer and her ilk are on the way out...they just want our President to fail, and are bringing America down in the process. Oh, by the way, thank you President Obama for giving the authorization to the Navy Seals to go into Somalia and rescue our American girl...took a lot of courage on your part President Obama, as you know if anything went wrong in that rescue operations you would be blamed. Again, thank you President Obama and the Navy Seals.

    January 25, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  10. TheLord

    She has no class obviously

    January 25, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. RationalFew

    I wouldn't see a point in the president spending one minute with her. She would just misrepresent the nature of any meeting and use it for her own political self interest. He should have bypassed her all together.

    January 25, 2012 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  12. mochica

    Obama is the only president who has not received all the respect he deserved. People were even respectable towards George W. This woman has no shame or integrity.

    January 25, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  13. brian in denver

    The governor says that she respects the office of the President, "but the book is what the book is...". And she is what she is: a paranoid, hateful, bigoted excuse for a public servant.

    January 25, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  14. Steven Daniel

    Well, he was missing his teleprompter, what do we expect?

    January 25, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  15. SecedingfromTexas

    Sorry, should have said "than this woman has in her whole body" -

    January 25, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  16. Tam

    She's a whacko

    January 25, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  17. Gil H

    Governor Brewer needs to talk to her Doctor about her Meds....

    January 25, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  18. John

    Than you should try to respect the president First. He Trying he best to turn this Country around with NO REPUBLICAN HELP what so ever.

    January 25, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  19. Mr. Simms

    I support my President
    Obama 2012!

    January 25, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. Brian Richards

    So Gabby Giffords retires and Obama knocks of a group of hooligan pirates and how does the governor of Arizona respond?

    Like a rabid dog who has more in common with Jared Loughner than anybody close to sane.

    What's with it Arizona, you folks putting crazy in the drinking water? Certainly, this is further proof that Republicans lack the basic tools to govern.

    January 25, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  21. Andrew

    Missed your chance to drop her, Secret Security.

    January 25, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. labman57

    Empress Palpatine attempts to use the dark side of the Force on the POTUS ... and fails.

    January 25, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  23. Orwell proven

    She is another wing nut fascist from Republistan.

    January 25, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  24. cathyinAZ

    Total disrespect but nothing new with this Gov. Hopefully she will be defeated when up for re-election. The people of AZ deserve better!

    January 25, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  25. Homer

    Good for her!
    I'll bet she'd like to know why Holder isn't behind bars!

    January 25, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15