September 3rd, 2010
10:43 AM ET
12 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. jerseylou

    HUH.....Meltdown more like Disintegration, if she thinks the way she looks it's under-standable!

    September 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. chad

    if arizona elects her they get what they deserve. her anti imagration stance isnt even about politics, its worse. its about money. she is in the pockets of private prison lobbyist. she is an awful american and a worse person.

    September 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. ABM

    EPIC FAIL. Once again another muppet of the GOP. I hope the people of AZ realize this nutjob for what she is and vote Dem.

    September 3, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. katiec

    What is more important is her refusing to acknowledge or answer her outlandish statements about people being beheaded. This has been proven to be untrue yet she refuses to address this.
    I had read she has close connections with privately run prisions, which AZ has many of and are becoming very profitable. Do wish someone would investigate and give is a yea or nay on this.

    September 3, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |

    OK she didnt have a teleprompter! She is a great govenor doing what she is supposed to do. Stand up for her state and it's citizens...not a "global" governor. I would vote for her if i lived there.

    September 3, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. clr

    i don't see what the fuss is... it was not that long of a pause... geezzzz

    September 3, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Dave Brown

    So she forgot her notes. Big deal.

    The REAL elephant in the room (which you inexplicably managed to completely ignore) was her refusal to even ACKNOWLEDGE questions after the debate about some very serious claims she made about "beheadings in the desert" perpetrated by illegal immigrants, which has turned out to be completely fabricated. She was given numerous opportunities to retract the statement, and instead just ran from the room.

    Maybe that's what you should be focusing on. But then again, CNN is terrified of being accused of "liberal bias" if they dare to put too much scrutiny on any Republican candidate. So we get fluff about her "nerves," and nothing at all about her LIES.

    September 3, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. No Way Joe

    It's time we start judging our leaders on whether or not they can lead with ideas instead of being good actors in front of the TV screen. I would have though we learned that lesson with Obama. I'd rather have the steak than the sizzle.

    September 3, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Brian in MD

    I don't think so. She is VERY popular in that state. Almost as popular as Sheriff Joe, whom the Feds are suing now.

    September 3, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Whatever

    God paid her back for that Immigration bill!!!!! Ummm ... ummmm...

    September 3, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Tim Doogan

    Sure, we've all "been there," but you can't just "laugh off" the fact that you avoided questions.

    I think in that moment she realized that she was way in over her head. She was handed the job as governor, and now that she sees that she actually has to do real work and speak coherently to keep her job, she became terrified.

    September 3, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. No Way Joe

    Unemployment is up again and people are worried that Brewer froze for 15 seconds? God help this nation.

    September 3, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. GaryB

    What I got was her being unable to say "we have done what was right for Arizona" with a straight face.

    September 3, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Flounder

    This Az. gov. must have Alzheimers to have lost continuity in her speech. She should be relieved of duty on mental incompetence alone!

    September 3, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Louisiana Man

    Her competency would have surely been brought into question had she been a Democrat.

    Hello-this was an opening statement of a debate-
    you know the baiting strategy and aphrodisiacs utilized to lure than hook the salivating electorate that self congratulate themselves that their candidate is 'right on'.

    The substitute governor strongest suit is her ability to play the minions and augment their anger on her one ace-immigration

    and hope these droids will not see thru her onion skin exterior of numbing intellect and a weak political sharpness that would render her an ineffectual 'public servant'.

    Be afraid AZ-be very afraid!!

    September 3, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Bob in Kansas City

    Brewer only became Governor by default and she obviously is unqualified to hold the position. The voters will be the ultimate test of her electability however utilizing the devisive immigration ferver she will likely be elected despite how detrimental it will turn out to be for Arizona.

    September 3, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. anagram_kid

    I am no fan of the Governor, but that is considered news is just further proof that there really isn't enough actual news to fill 24×7 coverage. In any case, this will not hurt her with her supporters. If anything it will endear her to them even more. Sadly, my opinion of the far right in this country is that they worship what is average. Anything above that makes them feel bad about themselves.

    September 3, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Snow

    The liberal media would have loved her to to do a howard deen and show true stupidity. Well, she is not as dim witted as dean and most liberals.

    September 3, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. SOWHAT

    Maybe she should have just added some ughs and ahh noise to fill the seems to work for other politicians.

    September 3, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    No just makes her stronger aganist the Socialists

    September 3, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Peg, Carrollton, TX

    It started with Sarah Palin who was running for VP of our country; she said during a VP debate that she wasn't there to answer questions that were asked that she was just going to tell us what she wanted to say. Follow her with Sharon Angle who ducks reporters questions all the time. And now the governer of AZ. What makes these women think they are not answerable to the public when running for public office.

    Nobody ever said that politicians (of all stripes and gender) have to like the questions but if we are putting them in charge, then they become answerable to us. When politicians hide from questions, it makes me question everything they do.

    September 3, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Snow

    The liberal media would have loved her to do a howard dean and show true stupidity. Well, she is not as dim witted as dean and most liberals.

    September 3, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |

    The GOP women candidates are laughable and a real setback for women in politicc! No wonder there are more democratic womman in office ! Angles is anutcase'so beware ! just hope you don't get raped she will make you have the child .M,aybe she can adopt all the babies born under these circumstances.Anti public education 'anti social security anti health reform keep the rich 4 rver rich sounds klike a typical Republican selffish 'unsympathetic people who talk Constitution xcept when it does'nt fit their agenda i'm an independent and altho a little dissapointed in Obama I WOULD NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN since none have the courage to pur BECK in his place !OOOH he hears Gods voiceOpportunist using GOD!!Wake up america dis these nutjobs

    September 3, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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