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. Pravaa

    Doesn't the media have anything better to report on? Two pols. arguing about he said...she said....Wow. That's news?

    January 26, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  2. smc

    Brewer and Tom Corbett are in a race for the bottom of the Governor's IQ pool, but Brewer has a strong lead in that one. Dare I guess this "encounter" was made up to help with her book sales?

    January 26, 2012 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  3. Marie MD

    What a witch. She looked that the fool she is. It would make much more sense if she had done this with the village idiot #43. Obama has done more for border security than he ever did in eight years!
    Doesn't wash. I am glad the President walked away from her.

    BTW – nice makeup job or you finally stole enough money from your state to go get rid of some of those ugly wrinkles.

    January 26, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  4. Debra From Georgia

    Brewer is a dangerous woman, for the life of me, I do not know why the secret service did not arrest her. She is CRAZY.

    January 26, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  5. The Other Dale

    She goes public with stories that others have stated are false and then goes public when the person she knocks happens to bring up the topic to her, acting as if he beat her up for even questioning her on it? Who is the thin-skinned one here? Arizona will be much better off once they vote Brewer out of office and get someone who wants to act like an adult in office.

    January 26, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  6. Jeff

    Pictures tells a thousands words. I believe she's lying. After all the vitriol this President received over the years, an excerpt in a book is going to set him off? I don't think so. She's lying,

    January 26, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  7. hilroy

    It is interesting that all these .....politicians including some in Canada think they can talk down to the "boy" president. Who is she shaking her finger at? Look, the president is from Chicago and he has survived and fought with tougher people than she or her cohorts can ever be. Where does this woman get off and who put her up to it? These women who happen to be white in politics are cluless and being used by you know who.

    January 26, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Digusting......this is an elected official whose has no respect for our country's leader....who would vote for that!

    January 26, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  9. billg

    I think we all can agree that Obama has no class. Even those that support him should be able to see that simple truth.

    January 26, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  10. PA_outofwork

    It's about time someone put "Always Wrong Obama" in his place. Obama going to find out just how big a loser he is in November 2012.

    January 26, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  11. John

    "The book is what the book is?" She wrote the book!

    January 26, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  12. bravado in boston

    she is a nut...loon....fruitcake.....one joker short of a full deck.....lights on but nobody is home.....only one oar in the water......etcetera.

    January 26, 2012 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  13. sogooden

    Sorry, but I saw that exchange and it was obvious who was on the attack. The govenor was irate and extremely disrespectful. She was trying to birate the president like he was a child or someone she felt superior too. She was trying to cause a scene. When the president walked away from her, she was treated exactly the way she deserved. But honestly, what do you expect from this obviously racist woman.

    January 26, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  14. eddieb

    I like her stance on imagration but she just another repuck on all the other issues.

    January 26, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  15. Cfrench

    How is this inarticulate simple minded woman qualified to write a book? Ever listen to her talk? Honestly, can't the republicans put forth a woman with a brain? Palin, Bachman, O'Donnel, the list goes on. Obama had every right to dress her down.

    January 26, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  16. Hollowright

    She is about as whacko as it comes. Lay off over-medicating yourself, Jan – you look like a train wreck.

    January 26, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  17. Antwoine

    Governor Jan brewer put her finger in his face. Congressman Joe wilson Called him a liar on national television during a speech, Los Alamitos mayor Dean Grose sending e-mails of a watermelon patch whitehouse... Now former President Bush had a pair of Shoes thrown at him during his time and is the most derespectful thing I have ever seen..... But at least those shoes did not come from an ELECTED U.S. OFFICIAL. If our own governement officials can not respect the office of the President of the United States IN PUBLIC... how do they expect the rest of the world to?

    January 26, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  18. Irma in north Carolina

    Who does this bimbo think she is treating the president like this. But what can you expect she is a repulblican.

    January 26, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  19. Lindsey Robbins

    I don't care who are, average Joe or governor of a state, you never point your finger at someone's face. It's extremely rude and uncalled for, especially to the President of our country. She sounds like an awful woman incapable of an adult conversation without getting agitated that she can't control the situation. Next time, be more respectful and see how much better the discussion goes.

    January 26, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  20. Debbie from Arizona

    I'm glad I did not vote for this woman. She has been a terrible governor. She's cut education funding, health care funding, given more money to the private prisons in our state and wrote that stupid book. I will be very glad when her second term is up and we can be done with Jan.

    January 26, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  21. Johny

    This is the action of a self-important, image conscious individual. How can we doubt his lack of interest in what is best for America and his overarching interest in how he looks on television? Mr. President, we elected you to represent all of us. Part of your duty is to treat other senior leaders with the respect they deserve. It is wholly inappropriate to treat the Governor of the great State of Arizona this way.

    January 26, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. masscarol

    As a health care worker who does medical assessments I would say that Brewer might be the victim of TIA's,(transient ischemic attacks) small strokes in the brain.
    Notice the 4 min brain fart she had on national TV, the bag lady hair, the inability to use a social filter during communications, the sag to one side of her face, the crumpled clothing, all point to a damaged brain.
    Her staff must be covering for her. Makes you wonder who is governing Arizona?

    January 26, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  23. Indy in AZ

    Brewer, go back to your trailer park. You are pathetic, and are the face of our horrible image, here in AZ!

    January 26, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  24. Joan

    Right or wrong, for a long time Republicans have been characterized as grumpy, old white men. Now you can add grumpy, old white women. If she was invited to the White House for a meeting and she didn't see eye to eye with the President, she probably should not have retaliated in print saying he was not cordial. From all public appearances he always seems cordial and she is the one who is sarcastic, stubborn and mean spirited. She has only added to this perception. Look how both sides have handled this event. She says the President is thin skinned and the White House has not said anything derogatory at all about her and just wants to help Arizona. One side has class.

    January 26, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  25. samuel Burnside

    The state of Arizona is a Western South Carolina ! Crazy and disrespectfully ! You can disagree but not be a clown about it.

    January 26, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
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