September 2nd, 2010
12:41 PM ET
12 years ago

Brewer takes heat for not addressing beheading claim

[cnn-photo-caption image= [cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="A frustrated Brewer wouldn't answer reporter's questions about her beheading statement."](CNN) – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer sparred with her Democratic opponent in an at-times contentious debate Wednesday night, but it was what the Arizona Republican didn't say that is making waves the day after.

Brewer - who has become a prominent leader in the fight against illegal immigration with her steadfast support of Arizona's controversial immigration law - wouldn't address statements she made earlier this summer suggesting illegal immigrants are responsible for beheadings in the Arizona desert.

"What is hurting us right now economically are statements, false statements made by Jan Brewer, about how Arizona has become so violent, that we are a place of fear, and we have beheadings in the dessert," said Arizona Attorney Gen. Terry Goddard, the Democrat challenging Brewer, during the debate.

Quickly changing the subject, Brewer refused to address Goddard's injection of the beheading comment - a statement for which she has previously taken heat because it appeared proof was lacking that any beheadings ever occured. When reporters peppered her with more questions about the statement after the debate, Brewer immediately exited the room, saying, "Ok, thank you all."

The comment in question came in June, amidst national fury the state's new immigration law was overly severe and facilitated racial profiling.

"Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," she told reporters as part of her argument that the law was vital for public safety reasons.

Medical examiners from six of Arizona's counties, several of which boarder Mexico later told the Arizona Guardian that they had never witnessed victims who had been beheaded.

Brewer's office never clarified the basis for her beheading statement.

Brewer is also facing criticism Thursday for her opening statement in the debate, during which she appeared to lose focus several times.

Filed under: Arizona • issues • Jan Brewer
soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. Pragmatic

    You said it: You own it! In this day and age of "forever" media records ... just running away won't fix anything.

    Two choices: She can say "I stand by my comment" She can say "I spoke in haste and I apologize"

    Evidently she has no spine or ethics to do either. When your head is in the sand, the rest of you is pretty exposed!

    September 2, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Clwyd

    Jan comes across as a real bitchy woman who has let power corrupt her. This woman and all republicans are dangerous to our American Democracy as we know it! Sad so many can't see it and are blinded by her!

    September 2, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Big Ed

    When you elect a moron, you get the moron. The scary part is, people believe her tripe!

    September 2, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. panterazero

    The situation on the border is incredibly complicated. There is genuine criminality, but not as much as some people would insist. Popular outrage pushes the federal government toward enforcement of immigration law – but not as hard as the powerful, covert hands of the corporations drag it back. Meanwhile, the billions of dollars transmitted to Mexico by illegal workers is desperately needed for Mexican stability, which is very much in America's interest.

    From this complex reality, Governor Brewer tries to distill a single sound bite of outrage by emphasizing an incident that may or may not have occurred. We have seen this tactic before. Lyndon Johnson used a nonexistent attack in the Tonkin Gulf to whip up support for open warfare against North Vietnam. Adolf Hitler used a staged "Polish" attack on a German radio station as his excuse to launch World War II. Will Brewer get away with what she's trying to do? If the American people have the intelligence I credit them with, I don't think so.

    September 2, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Marshall M

    Johnrj08 is correct. Jan Brewer is using the same fear tactics as John McCain did in his "build the dang fence" commercial. The sherrif who is seen in his commercial is not from the border county where they were walking. The sherrif from that border county refused to do the commercial with McCain, so he had to get a stand-in from another county. The Republican Party knows that fear-mongering is a very effective political tool and they have become experts at it. Brewer's comment about beheadings in the Arizona desert is nothing more than stoking the anti-immigration fears of the Republican base.
    And her refusal to address Terry Goddard's questioning of that beheading statement is all the evidence the people really need that she is a bald-faced liar.
    Frankly, I'm more interested in the crooked money dealings of her staff, as evidenced by the private jail industry here in AZ.

    September 2, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Dave

    Could this possibly be a case of a Republican lying and fear-mongering for her own political interests at the expense of others??? Say it isn't so!!! This never happens!!! Of course, don't ever expect this hack to actually address the subject when asked. This kook is on the same "dumb and whacky" league as the likes of Fiorina, Angle, and Palin.

    September 2, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Danny Cali

    That's why we need to vote for Democratic again, because Republican are beheading.

    September 2, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    @BETH – September 2nd, 2010 12:50 pm ET

    I heard the same – but it wasn't on CNN???? I also heard that Immigrant migration to the state of AZ was down almost 3/4% beginning in 2008 (hmm, that sounds like a familiar year).

    Also the crime rate is way down since 2008!!! I wonder how long will it be before BREWER, McSAME take the credit for it and try to convince their 'listeners' that it's the new immigration law that's causing it!!???

    September 2, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Laverne

    Of course, she is just another lying, fear mongering republican who is hell bent on saying whatever it takes to get re-elected and making the situation in Arizona sound worst than it really is. She is a sleeze bag!

    September 2, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. chad

    thats the lame steam media for ya! always tryin to get to the truth!

    September 2, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. ghp

    The most powerful motivator is fear. Go Republicans!!!

    September 2, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Dems Lie

    I'm glad we have a politician willing to stand up for the American people, rather than denigrate us. Interestingly enough, I see no CNN story about Democrat Mass Governor Deval Patrick's comments that he wishes this was not a free country so people he opposes (Glenn Beck) could not hold large gatherings...Regardless, if the democrat is trying to make this race about a single comment made by Brewer, it shows how the Dems have nothing to offer.

    September 2, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Ray from Bisbee AZ

    SB 1070 is nothing more than the "Jan Brewer Reelection Act." Before she signed it, she was foundering in the polls; now she's the darling of the right.

    September 2, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Bill in California

    I SEE SOMEONE RATTLED THE CAGES OF THE LIBS AGAIN. THEIR HATE FOR TRUTH, THE LAW, AND JUSTICE stirs them up like a hornets nest. Of course that comes from the FACT that THEY ARE THE MINORITY in a country founded by TRUTH, THE LAW, AND JUSTICE. Come NOVEMBER their voices will be EVEN LESS RELEVANT.
    R.I.P. DIMRATS 2010, EMPEROR 2012.

    September 2, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Aubrey

    I'm proud to live in a country where we have fair debate and the capability to demand of politicians to live up to what they say. Keep asking Gov. Brewer questions, Arizona- don't let anyone scare you into voting for them. I ask that the rest of my fellow Americans follow suit.

    September 2, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Katy Hill

    Janet Brewer is a nasty, bitter old woman. Truth has never been her strong suit.

    September 2, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. misanthropicus

    Crappy attempt at stirring outrage from an inexistent issue – liberals have reached bottom as resources and invent issues which at best draw a yawn. Who gets indignat that Brewer said something about beheading when we, day in and out see footage from Juarez, and not only there with beheadings? And now "Machete", Rodriguez's crap has hit the screen and fully justifies any anti-Mexican prejudice? No indignation here baby, and Brewer is just fine – and since here, the CNN runs also a mighty companion piece of crap "Is America Islamophobic?" Wow – this question sure will make the nation cease all activity and start a collective flogging session. Man, man, in what a warped world do liberas live!

    September 2, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Marilyn G

    McCain/Brewer 2012 – NOW that would be another winning combination. Isn't that the type he goes for? Oh, yeh!

    September 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. larry

    When the Brewster was referring to the beheading in the desert she was just talking to a black guy about the illegals he saw in the desert and she was just asking "which way they be heading?" She added "I wanted him to be able to understand what I was asking." I sure he was wondering who hit her with the ugly stick.

    September 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Mike

    Is this really the best candidate we as a nation can muster to represent us? Conservative or liberal, we must have minimum standards before we should vote for someone like this. Conservatives, is this someone you would really want representing you?? She is an embarrassment to herself, her state, and her country.

    September 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Charles W. Skinner

    She could stop running NOW and still crush the Democrat candidate. She's a shoe-in for passing the SB 1070 Legislation. All the Democrat candidate can do is whine and moan.

    September 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Realistic

    In the age of unconstraint political rhetoric and no accountabilty for what is said, why are people suprised. We as voters had heard it from both sides of the aisle but the republicans have gone off the deep end. Beheading in Az with no proof, President Obama is not an American and so on and we are suprised that the country is in this mess. When our leaders are too busy in the politics of destruction and gotcha politics and ignoring our serious problems we face, the end result is the what we have now. Jan B is playing scare politics to try to garnish votes and win and she may but AZ looses in the end. How? She will be to busy playing to the fox viewers on their showes and traveling the country trying to get more radical republicans elected and ignoring the problems AZ faces. When the illegeal issues dies down she will have to actually face the serious problems in AZ and she will be unfocused and unprepared to deal with them.

    September 2, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. sd in sg

    You beat me to it, mort! 🙂

    September 2, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. anotherGDlefty

    Terry Goddard slammed Jan to the mat. Last night was the exact reason why Jan is afraid of any more debates.

    Terry had numbers and facts and asked her to stop lying about dead bodies. Jan had her Finger weather vane and kept saying that she was proud of "all she has did" when it came to

    Watch her opening statement, it was the smartest thing she did all night.
    It was painful to watch her twist in the wind, I almost felt sorry for her....almost.

    The only thing she could remember were her tea party talking points....Obamacare, unions, god & SB 1070. She also managed to blame her that OK when an (R) does it?

    After those were trotted out, she had nothing. NOTHING.

    C'mon Jan, I'm a registered Arizona voter and I want you to debate Mr. Goddard on the issues as he has proposed. Chicken ?

    September 2, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Chino

    Apparently no one on here ready the news about all the beheading that take place every day in Mexico to terrorist those that are against the cartels. An illegal was beheaded with a chain saw in the middle of the street down a couple of blocks from where one of my friends live in what used to be the quiet town of Lewisville, Tx. Look it up. This is just the beginning.

    September 2, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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