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. JoeW

    In the real world, maybe not Brewer's, there are concepts of protocol, respect and professionalism. She should try to learn a little about all three.

    January 26, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  2. larry

    Obama does not like Brewer because she does not bow down to him like others do. Also she describes him as he is instead of sugar coating everything she says about him. We need more like her!

    January 26, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  3. Tari Torch Sweeney - Shaker Heights, OH

    Brewer looks for fights everywhere. Arizona has become a haven for right-wing conservatives, and she promotes it. I don't blame Obama for being irritated. I'm more than sure he just didn't go "off" on her without some "help" on her part. She's nasty.

    January 26, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  4. Providence Patriot

    Yeah, if somebody were pointing their finger at me I'd walk away from them, too.

    January 26, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. Nick

    Go Brewer! Time to show Obama for what he really is – a teleprompter on legs with no leadership ability and no plan.

    January 26, 2012 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  6. Michael

    Regardless of the issues, disagreements, or the ideology this woman was most disrespectful of the POTUS. I'm sure she never raised her children to be as rude as she was. I too would have walked away from her mid-sentence...better than the alternative. You wag you finger at a dog NOT at the POTUS

    January 26, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I love how Brewer accuses the President of being thin-skinned, yet she's the one running to the press like a hurt kid crying for mommy. My guess is that the President half-jokingly, half-seriously said something like "so, will you be using this meeting as the start for your next piece of fiction?" and then she played the "Oooh, feel sorry for me; I'm such a victim of the mean old president" card.

    January 26, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |

    She used this opportunity to sell her lame book but does not apologize for her lack of respect for his position. I cannot wait to see how this is spinned to make President Obama look like the aggressor.

    January 26, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  9. Nash

    The governor is trying to use publicity with the President to sell her worthless book.

    January 26, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  10. Joe

    Any president in the past would have had enough polish and confidence to dialogue with a governor, even if that governor was not supportive of his policies. I fear Obama has become so arrogant that he cannot enter into discussions with anyone who challenges him. This inability, among countless others, shows serious flaws for this guy. And such difficulty does not bode well for him in the upcoming debates. I think "thinskinned" is a good description for Obama. In a debate Newt Gingrich would reduce him to a quivering mass of rage.

    January 26, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  11. Louise

    Plain and simple...she and others like her has no respect for the President.

    January 26, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  12. Mabel White

    pants on fire Brewer !

    January 26, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  13. Sue

    Jan Brewer has been rude and arrogant ever since she arrived on the political scene. The state of Arizona deserves her and Sheriff Arpaio!

    January 26, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Jan Brewer for President!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. Dave

    I wonder if this twit at least gave Obama credit for doing more to secure the border than any President before him. Somehow, I doubt it.

    January 26, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. FM

    "I have all the respect in the world for the office of the President", said Gov. Brewer.
    Hey Madam, people do not respect the buildings which the President is residing in, they respect the person who is residing on those buildings at that particular time.

    January 26, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  17. RLA

    It's all about Obama!!!! It must be hard not to be idolized???? That's what America gets from electing a charasmatic leader rather than one suited to the job!

    January 26, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  18. mique

    Why stand around and argue with the brainless? I would have walked away, too.

    January 26, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  19. Kathy

    Brewer "hes not very thick skined" REALLY brewer. because you are a loud mouth so and so you expect people to just stand there and take your abuse. You are part of the problem not the solution to the problems in this country.

    January 26, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  20. Joel Miller

    Folks like Brewer who have been viciously pot-shotting the President for 3 years and doing whatever they can to subvert his efforts should not be surprised when he walks away from them.

    January 26, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  21. fedup

    You and people like you put this country upside down with your hate and your dislike of anyone that is not your color. people like you hide behind your true message in life is to send everyone back that's not you type an that have different views. So lets all go back where we came from so this means you have to go back to being a slave or peasant. Oh let me guess your part Native american Indian.

    January 26, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  22. MrMEW55

    These holier-than-thou Repugnicans are so good with talking about their "good Christian family values" but they are too ignorant to have respect for the President of the United States! Can't have anything to do with the fact that he's a black man, could it? (Yeah right!)

    January 26, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  23. Wemzy

    Her lack of respect for the President of the United States is utterly disgusting. If she ever wants to be respected by the American people, she needs to respect her President; regardless of their different beliefs or ideology.

    January 26, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  24. patty

    I believe this woman is certifiably nuts.

    January 26, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  25. Grim Reaper

    I need to go to work to support you knuckleheads.

    January 26, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
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