Arizona sheriff meets with GOP White House hopefuls
October 17th, 2011
10:51 AM ET
11 years ago

Arizona sheriff meets with GOP White House hopefuls

(CNN) - With his much sought-after endorsement, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio told CNN he's still considering who he'll back for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

But the Maricopa County sheriff, known for his strict stance on illegal immigration, is set to hold his second meeting with Georgia businessman Herman Cain on Monday.

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, October 18, in the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Submit your questions for the debate here.

When asked why candidates are wanting his support, Arpaio credited his experience in border security.

"Well, it's not because I'm tall, dark, and handsome–which I'm not," Arpaio said on CNN's "American Morning." "But I have been around 20 years, and many years as head of the Federal Drug Enforcement in Mexico, Texas, Arizona. So I think I know where the border is. That may be one reason.

According to his website, Arpaio worked as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration for 25 years, both internationally and in the U.S.

Arpaio, who also met with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann last month, holds his meeting with Cain as several of the candidates head west for a debate and Republican conference where immigration is expected to be a top issue for discussion.

The Arizona Democratic Party said they find it "bizarre" that GOP candidates are seeking Arpaio's endorsement.

"By propping up Arpaio at a time when he's investigating the president's birth certificate and one of his top political lieutenants is sitting in an ethics hearing, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann have made it perfectly clear what choice Arizona voters face," said the party's executive director, Luis Heredia, in a statement Monday.

Arpaio is currently facing a civil rights investigation by a grand jury over charges of abuse of power.

Cain, now a front-runner with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, drew attention over his immigration policy this weekend for saying the United States-Mexico border should have an "electrified" fence with a sign warning "it will kill you."

Cain followed up on Sunday, saying the comment was a joke.

Arpaio agreed Cain was "probably joking," but said he thinks Cain "probably" takes border security seriously.

"I'll see how he stands on the illegal immigration problem," he said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Herman Cain • Immigration • Joe Arpaio • TV-American Morning
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Frank

    The man is an authoritarian joke. His endorsement will be a historical embarrassment to whomever acquires it. His missed the declaration to "love thy neighbor as thyself" completely.

    October 17, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. rs

    Any candidate from either party who seeks Joe Arpiao's blessings had better know about his past: his illegal immigrant sweeps that have cost Maricopa County hundreds of thousands of dollars in fine and lawsuits; his "palling around" with white supremicists and neo-Nazi groups; the missing $ millions in the jail and sheriff's dept. budget; the fake charges his office has filed against his political enemies. The list goes on and on. Prisoners are abused in his jails, some have died. This is a horrible man. If Republicans want to get into bed with him, they need to know that his crimes and behavior could wreck their candidacies, or reveal the Republican agenda for what it really is...

    October 17, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. AZ Dem

    As an AZ resident it makes sense that the candidates are seeking Arpaio's endorsement. He has support from many in the state because like it or not many people do not like allowing illegals into the country for whatever reasons. Arpaio is strict and even Democrats in this state like that. I don't think it will help whoever he does endorse win the nomination but noteworthy atleast.

    October 17, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. vic , nashville ,tn

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Sarah Pailn , Rep. Michele Bachmann ,Herman Cain …… using the media to build their future that is it .

    October 17, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Maybe Joe can teach the republicans hopefuls how to cash in on more hate.

    October 17, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Kathy

    Love me some Sheriff Joe!!!!!

    October 17, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. AZMom

    This guy is a big drama queen. I don't there's ever been a fence or wall erected that wasn't breached. We need real solutions not just walls.

    October 17, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. carlos

    why give this nincompoop more media space......endorsement????.....a dog s endorsement will have more value

    October 17, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    A man who is under federal investigation for arresting and attempting to prosecute ANYONE who crosses him does not have an endorsement any serious candidate should seek. On the other hand, that explains why people go to Arpaio, Trump,Palin, and all the other clowns on the far right, since none of them are serious. The man has wasted money on false prosecutions, and has yet to account for millions of dollars missing from the coffers of the department.

    October 17, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Me

    Joe Arpaio is not an expert in illegal immigration. He is an expert in intimidation, settlements, lawsuits and harrassing Hispanics, legal, US citizens Hispanics. Joe just can't seem to grasp that AZ is 40% Chicano (US Hispanic).

    Say Joe, how is that "I'll only serve one term if you elect me" thing going that you said back in the early 90s?

    October 17, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. gt

    so many political correct politians ... one thing joe is not... refreshing...

    October 17, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. D

    Hey Joe!
    Any word from your "posse" yet about what they're (not) finding out about the President's birth certificate?

    October 17, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Sniffit

    Why report on this racist bag of wind and thereby inflate (or more accurately, CONflate) his importance? Black him out...he's still got a "posse" trying to prove Obama's birth certificate was a fake in an attempt to pull him off the AZ ballot. Screw Arpaio and the burning cross he road in on. The media needs to re-learn how not to be the most efficient societal poison delivery system in existence.

    October 17, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    One more person that the GOP loves to have on their side, but thinkers don't want anything to do with.

    October 17, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Will Arpaio be giving each of the hopefuls pink underwear during their "courting", or was that particular gift unique to $arah Palin when she sought his endorsement? Either way, Arpaio is not exactly a man I'd be asking for an endorsement from.

    October 17, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. unsub

    why his endorsement??? i have looked at the repub. field and am not impressed...i'm rollin with Obama!

    October 17, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Noodle Nose Johnson

    But who, pray tell, will Joe the Plumber endorse? Cuz his endorsement is worth just as much as Sheriff Joe's – absolutely nothing.

    October 17, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. CathyinMN

    I lived in AZ for 11 years – if I were one of the GOP candidates, I would run away quickly – THIS MAN IS A NIGHTMARE!

    October 17, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. thomas

    Rick Perry / Joe Arpaio

    Executions and corporate prisons

    October 17, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |