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. quinLee

    I love the way she's out there now trying to play the victim–"I respect the office of president and I know he loves the country"–yeah right. But as they say missy, a picture is worth a thousand words.
    BTW-deportations under Obama are at a record high and that's not necessarily something a democratic president would want to tout.

    January 26, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. Cliff

    Good for her. Appears all she did was call a Spade a Spade!

    January 26, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  3. Frank from Gilroy

    The GOP posts on this chain say it all

    January 26, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. Scot

    If you have ever been to AZ you would know it is a VERY red state around Scotsdale and the middle of the state. I was watching CNN one day in a lounge, when I was passing through, and the patrons threw a fit and made the bartender change the channel to FOX ! So what to you expect from their elected officials. As you can see from some of these posts their are alot of Ms Brewers down there !

    January 26, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. trex

    .....So Jan "Ironhead" Brewer is at it again. What, she found more dog heads in the desert? It sure wasn't human heads before, was it..............

    January 26, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Franny

    What an embarassment to Women, and the State of Arizona. Hey, we here in Texas know how many of you feel in Arizona about this disrespectful Governor. After all, We have Perry, and many here in Texas are embarassed at the disrespect he has shown President Obama, and many of the Citizens here in Texas. I hope some will realize why he won the last election by 38%. he refused to debate White, and the American People are very aware of his debating skills. I've never voted for Perry, and never would, and believe me most in Texas feel the same.

    January 26, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  7. Dave

    It is a snapshot of a woman who talks with her hands.
    Besides, he was the one out of line. It was the wrong place and wrong time to bring it up.

    What he needed to be doing was taking notes on how to fix and economy because Arizona is on the upswing at a MUCH greater pace than the US, like most states being run by fiscal conservatives.

    January 26, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  8. Leigh2VA

    Governor Brewer ought to realize by now she's wasting her time on Obama. Obama needs to be able to deal with criticism a little bit better in my estimation.

    January 26, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  9. Richard Carpenter

    I know how Obama fells, trying to talk with republicans that do not base there thoughts in fact is very difficult. At what point do you just give up an walk away?

    January 26, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. Phil in KC

    I'm a Democrat and generally support Obama. But I don't think I would have brought it up right off the bat on the tarmac. I would have chosen a more private moment. I guess that's what they call a 'teaching moment'.

    January 26, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. Eric in Manhattan

    Just another rude, undisciplined Republican.

    January 26, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  12. Dee G.

    I don't care what your personal opinion is of the sitting president, you ALWAYS have respect for the office! Governor Jan Brewer is a disgrace and should be relieved of her duties as soon as administratively possible.

    January 26, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, Jan, tell us how that now that the illegal immigrants from Mexico have finished building up all of Arizona's infrastructure and luxury homes and golf courses that you really don't want them anymore.

    January 26, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Brandy

    No matter what she wanted to talk about, you dont point your finger in the Presidents face. If she wanted him to talk about the book, she should have setup an appointment and talk to him one on one, not trying to promote her book.

    January 26, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  15. tykl

    A bunch of self-righteous comments. Any questions why President Obama got off Air Force One and immediately started talking about her book?? Maybe a hello and maybe a comment about the most important matters in the US might be a good place to start (i.e. economy, jobs, deficit, health care, immigration) – instead he gets sulky about her book?? If you all dismiss her, then why would the President even care about her book?

    January 26, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  16. lyn

    This woman is disgusting and should be ashame of herself pointing her finger at the President. " GO OBAMA GO" we the people are with you all the way. God bless President Obama.

    January 26, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  17. Oy

    The people cheering this witch of a woman on need to check themselves. Pointing your finger in someone's face is disrespectful, rude, threatening, and aggressive. The Secret Service should have taken her butt down.
    Disagree with the man's politics, but don't cheer on disgusting behavior on this woman's part. It doesn't speak well of you OR your party.
    And I would say this regardless of whether she had done this to the Pres. or to someone else. You just don't get in someone's face like that. And people who think that is ok, need to take some manners lessons.

    January 26, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  18. democrat for life

    i have never seen the disrespect that the repubs are showing to this president. they are terrible and they enjoy doing this to show off how stupid they are. shame on them. we'll see what happens in november. i think the american people are just about fed up with all of them. we need to take back our government and start working toward fixing this country and getting our jobs back and our mfg. back in this country. they leave so they can make obscene profits and treat the workers and the environment how ever they need to make the most money for themselves. they do not care about us or our country or the earth. that goes for all repubs. they call themselves christian yet they don't know the meaning of the word.

    January 26, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  19. Puddin

    I wonder what she expected President Obama to say; that he "loved her book describing him as being less than cordial after their June meeting?" Describing him as being "thin-skinned" is also a laugh-and-a-half. The Republicans bash him constantly, and I sometimes wonder why he lets it slide most of the time. Then I figured he did not want to sink to their low. Any president would be spending 100% of their time defending themselves if they responded to every bash instead of working for the country. I say he won the election fair and square. They should get over it and at the very least give the appearance of "respecting" our president. The Golden Rule would apply very well in the present situation.

    January 26, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  20. Oy

    Btw, her feeling "lectured to" is only her perception of the interaction and is not necessarily the truth. I don't blame him for calling her out on that. And to the person who claims he got off the plane, shouted in her face, and walked off? What are you smoking? Where does it say that ANYwhere?

    January 26, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. gdouglaso

    In Arizona we have Brewer and Sheriff Joe...sadly these are two of the more sane political figures. Following politics in Arizona is like watching One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Apparently after Brewer ate the scorpions for breakfast, they ate her brain. How embarrassing.

    January 26, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
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