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. Doug

    The Governor points her finger at the President in a trade of remarks about her stylized version of political stories and "regroups" from the chat on the tarmac. The meeting she claims to seek with the Commander-in-Chief would also be a waste of time, but a chance for a photo opp of more bluster with a press release to claim, "I told him!"

    Despite the Governor's extensive history and experience in state government, combined with her cadre of savvy advisers, she has failed to make a compelling case that would leave any federal administration with no alternative but to see border control and illegal immigration as a security issue of the highest priority requiring the resources and results of the greatest magnitude.

    In other words, the ability to get something done is proportional to the ability to give that "something" signficant weight and energy to accomplish what you want done – the result of an effective politician.

    That's difficult for the Governor because she is not articulate, persuasive, or adept in formulating and expressing authentic, astute thought. Evidence of this includes her false statements of immigrant decapitations; lapse of spontaneous speech during debate; and shifting public positions that alternate between contradiction to and support for "state's rights".

    Posturing is cheap. Intelligent, practical solutions are difficult to forge. Positive results in deportations, unemployment claims, consumer confidence, and international security by any objective measure are hard to achieve. Trash talk is easy.

    January 26, 2012 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  2. kenny

    He should have Jack Slapped her for being disrespectful.

    January 26, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  3. Scottsdale Man

    Growing up in AZ and being a reuplican, Gov. Jan Brewer is an absolute DISGRACE!
    She is just plain the "loudest, old drunk lady at the party that everyone makes fun of"
    She has done very little to help our economy here and even had a total brain fart (14+ seconds) during her televised debate.
    We have had great leadership in AZ and then she moved up the ladder.
    She is not liked very much here in AZ.
    Gov. Brewer is a complete embarassment
    She needs to go!

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

    Ms. Brewer,
    How disgraceful and disrespectfullly you point a finger at our Commander-In-Chief especially at a welcome ceremony. You owe him an apology and you need to keep your personal opinions about your book to your yourself!!
    GEEEEZZZZ!! I'd bet Mr. McCain is just gleefully happy with it. This is not the spirit of American Democracy.
    I am just appallled with your behaviour and wondering if you are capable in carrying your governship responsibilities in Arizona.

    January 26, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  5. RepublicanVoter

    B for bully – Brewer is a disgrace, she lies faster than horses can run and is apparently to thin-skinned to just own up to her own behavior. Thank you Mr. President for not showing your usual incredible patience, but this time, as she deserved, saying it with some bigger letters and leaving her mid-sentence. Just what she deserves – maybe it will make her realize its the President she id dealing with; the President can do just that, to anyone.

    January 26, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  6. RepublicanVoter

    Oh and news flash for B(ully)rewer: it is the President that sets the agenda of a conversation with him – no you, are mere Governor of State. Imagine that!

    January 26, 2012 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  7. Cate

    President Obama is not a door mat for anyone. He does not need her blessing or her company if she will write lies about their meeting. What did she expect, a big hug and a beg for her approval? He showed self-respect. Thank you.

    January 26, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  8. Z

    Photo circulating of Brewer with her finger stuck in Obama's face which is flat out disqusting. These right wingers blame Obama for the border when he's deported more illegals than ANY president. The GOP needs to quit playing the blame game, Obama pushed for more border agents and security and the GOP blocked it, look it up. Typical nonsense, they block fixing it and then complain about it because their voters aren't smart enough to figure it out.

    January 26, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  9. Paul

    What did you expect from a racist? After all, imagine this, an African American President visiting the Arizona State, the only state that does not recognize the Martin L. King as an holiday. There must be a reason for refusing to pay respect to one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.
    The thing is, the behavior of the Arizona governor is nothing but the proof, it is the last throw of a dying beast.

    January 26, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  10. joe

    "Brewer, who said she felt "a little bit threatened" during the encounter..."

    Wow. Dog whistle much?

    January 26, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  11. Thatguy

    You know, disagreement is a good thing. Disrespect the president openly like she did is not. You don't have to like him miss brewer, but he is the leader of our country, show some respect.

    January 26, 2012 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  12. LQ

    My governor is SUCH a liar no one can believe anything that comes out of her mouth anymore. I saw a pic of her and Obama on the tarmac and SHE is the one who is in an antagonistic pose, waving her finger at him, the president, and then she goes on camera to lie about how much she 'respects" the office.

    At least she's in the state, today. She hasn't been here working for months, wile she is out 'hoeing her book.

    January 26, 2012 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  13. Professor

    I teach ethnolinguistics and know a good bit about both verbal and non verbal communication. The Governor's body language is at minimum accusatory if not an attack posture. I have lived in Arizona through her vengeful reign of hatemongering and enculturating an ill informed electorate into a culture of hyper-reactive fear. Fear of what? Fear of the myths, lies, and exaggerations which got the old withered hag elected into office in the first place. Most of the recent AZ governor's have met with impeachment as their political finale – always an embarassment to AZ. Perhaps we'll get lucky this time, and perhaps our "gov" will be incarcerated for assualt on the President of the United States. BTW, the "gov" is NO match for Obama. She does not even live in the same universe when we compare shear intellect and absolute integrity. She resides in a metaphoric black hole. Obama/Clinton2012!

    January 26, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  14. Geo

    If some loud disagreeable woman started pointing a finger at me, I think I would walk away too.

    January 26, 2012 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  15. cynwulfdesign

    And we are supposed to believe her side of the story based on what? On how cordial their first meeting in the oval office was? Sure. The POTUS is not just a person, he represents every person, city, county, and state in the union. And to diss the person in that position all for making some quick points in a book to sell.. well she got what was coming to her.

    January 26, 2012 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  16. skytag

    Obama should have given her a break. I'm sure any inaccuracies in her book were the work of those decapitated bodies in the desert she told us about.

    January 26, 2012 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  17. tim12

    this guy is funny,he gets it on with people on the campaign trail. how about he do something beside campaigning.

    January 26, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  18. Steve in North Carolina

    How dare she criticize his Imperial Majesty?

    January 26, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  19. Lamar

    Obama is a looser. He can't handle strong women. Evidence his treatment of Hilary Clinton during the primaries.

    One term president!

    January 26, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  20. scott

    Would you like a little cheese to go with that whine Mr. President.

    January 26, 2012 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  21. Shenandoah1865

    Brewer is an ignoramus and proves it every time she speaks. Please note the 'forward by Sarah Palin' on her book jacket.
    'Nuff said.

    January 26, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  22. MarineWill

    Hey Arizona...good luck with "that"!

    January 26, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  23. Dar

    Poor Poor Little Obambi got his weee little feelings hurt! Poor Poor Boy!

    He acts just like a little kid that isnt getting his way.............. OH wait, that is how he is supposed to act. He is after all, a Democrap. He reminded all of us that in his union address.

    He is and acts just like a teenager, thinks he knows everything. GREAT way to act Obambi, I am sure that walking away from a govenor while they are talking will show everyone just how strong you really are and you dont have to listen to anyone.

    Think Obambi might just have a small case of the big head going on here. Jan 2013 we will be able to help him with that problem. 🙂

    January 26, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  24. You and Me

    The President walked away. Well I would too if I had to look at that looney hag. She looks like a wore out brothel worker.

    January 26, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  25. CJ009

    Much ado about squat. Governor Brewer is just a nut on a book promotion tour.

    January 26, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
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