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. Joe

    If I had to look in THAT face of hers face for more than five minutes, I'd come up with thirty other reasons to do something else as well. I'm sure the president wanted to keep his lunch down. LOL

    January 25, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  2. truindep

    he isnt cool – he is a hot head- Obama acts like a two year old child when he doesnt get his way '

    January 25, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  3. Steve-Illinois

    OOOOOOOOhhhhhhh Obama got spanked! Funny, since this administration loves to spank any company, or organization that gets in its way!

    January 25, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. NoTags

    With Brewer as Governor and McInsane and Kyl as their Senators I truly feel sorry for the citizens of AZ, but they elected them.

    January 25, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |

    Keep in mind Gov. Brewer that "what goes around, comes around". Some day soon you will want respect for your office and it will be "time tp pay the piper". I know that you think you are some kind of superwoman but regardless of whether you like it or not, he IS OUR PRESIDENT and the office itself deserves respect not to mention the highly intelligent person that he is. Go to Lowes, buy a ladder AND GET OVER IT!!!

    January 25, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. Vontell D Tucker

    Whateveer happened to respecting the Office of the President of the United States? First, he was called a liar on the floor of the U.S. Congress. and now the Governor of a state points her finger in his face. This would have been unheard of befor Barack Obama became President. Let's face it, prejudice, racism and discrimination are alive in 2012. They are dressed in suits instead of white robes. The actions of these people frighten me because they want America to return to the 1940s and 1950s, but it can't happen without a fight from those that the Republican party want to disenfranchise again. When I look at the leadership of the Congress, especially the Republican party, I see meaness and hatred. No wonder there have been so many natural disasters, God is crying with shame because of the acts of his people. I continue to pray for a peaceful, equitable resolution to the political issues, but my hope is waning.

    January 25, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Reagan Republican

    He we go again, a repeat of the bad behavior by the members of my party to score points with some of the most hard core mean spirited constituents. Did we not learn anything from 2008? This is partly why he got elected in the first place. Brewer as an elected official should know better, but no!! she watnted to make a name for herself. and a photo op, say people can say, Boy she took it to him. Our President, like him or not, ever the consummate professional leader stayed calm, cool and collected. I am hoping that Mitt and Newt do not try and run with this, but instead stay away from it. This nonsense and disrespect of this man and his family did not work the first time around and it's not going to work this time. We saw what happened when McCain waited to late to put a stop to the nonsense. Focus on the issue and develope a plan, that is the only way we are going to win, if not we will have to wait till 2016.

    January 25, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  8. Jane

    I imagine it's often the case that an ignorant person interprets the conversation of an intelligent, sane person as 'condescending'. Poor things can't help it.

    January 25, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. viranka

    gov. Brewer you are a disgrace to this country and your office!! you should be recalled and thrown out of politics....

    January 25, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. Deni

    Her book, like the Queen of Crosshairs books, only have value if you need to burn something for heat.

    January 25, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  11. Michael Forson

    I rarely can say the following, but at least she is one Republican that believes that the President actually loves this country.

    January 25, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. roscoe

    Obama is right to treat Jan Brewer like something you'd scrape off the bottom of your shoe. She is an embarrassment to AZ. It is amazing that a ditsy politician, who used her postion to avoid a DUI and takes welfare for her son's healthcare but denies it to others, can become governor of a state. She is an example of what's wrong with government in America.

    January 25, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. Robin Bray

    Arizona was screwed up by Arizonans. Over paying for homes in an area with little natural water supply and passing laws that have done nothing but hurt businesses in the state. She has been nothing but bad news for Arizona and it's citizens and cares only about her own political cereer and will stab anyone in the back when she gets the chance.

    January 25, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. SafeJourney

    Brewer, Your disrepect for the President is just disgusting. You showed your true colors. Just pack it up and go away.

    January 25, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  15. PTBarnumboy

    Sounds like Jan is trying to impress the tea party folks??

    January 25, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. JohnRJ08

    Jan Brewer is an incompetent, combative jerk. I am amazed that the people of Arizona haven't figured that out. Then again, they chose John McCain as their US Senator, too.

    January 25, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. FIELD1stSGT

    Maybe the brainless one will realize that he does not control America must less the world just yet. Gov Brewer is not one to mess with and he has definitely messed with her and Texas. For this he will pay. Pay through the nose. He and his gangsters from Chicago might as well pack up now. For he and the works of George Soros are bound to fail in America. We will not tolerate imposters, socialist pigs and Muslims who worship pigs. Go to where you belong Obama. Back where you were born to Nigeria. Your not wanted here and the sooner your band of followers realize that you're leading them down a primrose path to destruction they will stone you. Look at Medicare. Supporters, in Obamacare see what the cost of medicare will be rising to each year until it is larger than your Social Security Check. Don't believe? then please read it.

    January 25, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  18. nolimits3333

    Jan Brewer is a nutcase and disgrace to the state of Arizona.

    January 25, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. n

    Wake up Arizona this governor has no respect for the president and its office who elected her 1 term governor I hope wake up Arizona

    January 25, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  20. citizen

    Obama is a terrible president

    January 25, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  21. PulSe

    Obama '12 !

    January 25, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  22. Tanker-A

    I find the "c" word deplorable­, but apparently it still has it's uses.

    January 25, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  23. Nick

    Cee U Next Tuesday, Jan.

    January 25, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  24. Portland tony

    The President is not well liked in sections of Arizona. But when two politicians can't put aside a petty disagreement and get along socially..it's sad.

    January 25, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  25. Jacquie

    This is the way Republicans have disrespected President Obama all the time. I mean it's basically rude, uncivilized and he would have been within his rights considering how they treat him to tell her to go to hades. But he is too nice, too much of a gentleman, has too much class for this strumpet.

    January 25, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
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