January 25th, 2012
07:46 PM ET
11 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. ThinkAgain

    Brewer "felt a little bit threatened" by her encounter with President Obama? She's obviously on the payroll of the fear-mongering right wing Republican idiots.

    January 26, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  2. Little Jimmy Truth

    Obama, you must study in Government 101 again.

    You must learn to greet everyone. You can't act too rude to nice lady.

    January 26, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  3. Marc

    You tell 'em gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl.

    January 26, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  4. Carmen

    The media allow people like Brewer to blantantly disrespect our President. If this was done to any other president it would have been a lot of criticism. Yes, he is black but he is still the President! This woman is a bad example to young people. She is a disgrace!

    January 26, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  5. Lenny Pincus

    She got called out. Good for him. I wish he'd do it more to these right wing hypocrites.

    January 26, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. Video Guy

    More lack of respect for the office of the President by the GOP.

    January 26, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  7. Hark

    Our POTUS seems to be a little thin skinned. Must not have gotten a very good reception on the campaign trail to the first battleground state today. Don't make promises you can't keep Mr.O.

    January 26, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  8. enuff

    I believe that people of an elected office should not be allowed to write "educational" books regarding other elected officials while in office. you start to look like the national enquierer just trying to smear someone. this time it can't be blamed on the "liberal" media if her name is on the book as author.

    January 26, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  9. Michelle

    Threatened? Really? Give me a break.

    January 26, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  10. csam18

    He should have done a round house kick followed by an axe drop.

    January 26, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  11. Seth

    Jan Brewer needs to be more professional as being head of state. She should respect president of country as any citizen and should not have raised fingers at him.she is a disgrace to people of Arizona.

    January 26, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  12. matthew

    Who does this woman thinks she is... a little power hungry

    January 26, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  13. kat

    He can't stand to be confronted by anyone with more
    sense than him.

    January 26, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  14. Dixie Independent voter

    This is the governor who told the media that decapitated bodies had been found in Arizona (pertaining to immigration). This statement was found to be false. When the media later questioned her, she walked away from the cameras, and wouldn't answer more questions. So who is thin skinned?

    January 26, 2012 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  15. ramos

    governor of a (desert) state with a tiny population = oops = sara palin (ice state)

    January 26, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  16. claudial

    OMG. The Secret Service should have been dispatched to keep the crazy lady away from our President. Pres. Obama has learned that you can't talk to these right-wing Tea Party types who just want to spew hate & anger.

    January 26, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  17. Marla

    This woman is just disrespectful of our President.
    She obviously doesn't want to work with him on what is important – new business and jobs for the country.
    She just wants to remain hung up on her pet peeve – picking on immigrants. As more and more of the voting population becomes minorities, she will become irrelevant.
    BTW, her policies certainly haven't turned Arizona around, at least not in a good way. Because of her policies, people like me will never visit or spend money in her state.

    January 26, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  18. BeverlyNC

    Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer is known for her outrageous behavior and has a high disapproval rating for her constant antics. Her immigration law is so controversial it is going before the Supreme Court. The woman is an extremist who has no class or sense of self-dignity. Wagging her finger at President Obama for a photo op shows a total lack of character, respect for herself and for our country. President Obama is our President and we honor the office regardless of who the President is or whether we agree with him or not – or at least until Republicans began showing how shameless and crude they are by refusing to call President Obama "President". They always just refer to him as "Obama". They don't show up for his State of the Unions. They disrespect and slander him with racial undertones at every turn. I try to judge candidates as people but I would NEVER vote for a Republican based on their past few years of raising hate levels in our country, reopening racism, demeaning the poor, seniors, and working class people. Not one is a leader or even a human being. Truth and character matter and Republicans have none. I stand with my proven leader President who stands up for me and ALL other Americans. He works for everyone.

    January 26, 2012 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  19. Marry

    Considering Gov. Brewer typical GOP/TP badmouthing the President in the past and working with the motto of deception and facts do not matter, it is understandable that the President does not want to waste too much time with her. And, he is right, it is better spend to help and listen to the people. And the people are his real concern.
    President Obama 2012

    January 26, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  20. Derek

    A little bit threatened? Surrounded by cameras, secret service and your own audacity?

    The only thing that was a little bit threatened was feminism.

    January 26, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Go Jan Go Jan

    January 26, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  22. Buck

    Brewer is as classless as they come.

    January 26, 2012 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  23. Buck

    The comment that she felt "a little bit threatened" is just plain ignorant. What did she think the president was gonna strike her or something. Typical republican, what a joke.

    January 26, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  24. Yeahsure

    "Felt threatened?" Like what- he was going to sic the Secret Service on her? LOL. Who's thin skinned, the finger

    January 26, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  25. mtnman

    Jan Brewer is an embarassment to our State of Arizona.
    Methinks her latest antics are more about selling her dreadful book ("I Drink Scorpions in My Martinis"), than sticking up for Arizona.
    She is political toast. I'm still hoping Newt picks her for his running mate. (GAG!!!!), All her political cronies are on the skids: Russell (SB1070) Pearce was recalled, the former county attorney Andrews may be disbarred, everyone is waiting for the Federal indictments of Sheriff Joe. I won't comment on her personal appearance, but as GrandDad would have said,"She looks like she was rode hard and put away wet!"

    January 26, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
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