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. IVOTE

    President OBAMA should not engage with politicians who don't have manners. The residents of the great state of Arizona deserve better and hopefully will replace brewer in the next election.

    January 25, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  2. bullock w

    People will not vote for presdient obama 2012 cause he had problems his job for 3 year

    January 25, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  3. James B

    Jan Brewer is an embarrassment. She has shown a level of disrespect that is on par with Rep. Joe Wilson. It is time for America to DEFEAT Republicans and relegate them to the dustbins of history.

    January 25, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. Dan

    It seems Mr. Obama doesn't take criticism well. This is not the first reported incident of its type. I suspect he may be feeling a bit threatened by polls, resignations, an an economy that refuses to bend to his will.

    January 25, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. StayIgnorant

    Another Republican stooge distorting the facts. What's new?

    January 25, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  6. James Frost

    Another goofy Republican making it all the more easy for President Obama to be reelected. You're in grand company, governor, thank you from one of the rest of us.

    January 25, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    She whined about having to leave her cell phone outside the Oval Office.

    EVERYONE leaves their cellphone outside the oval office when they go in for meetings. Man, she's fatally flawed mentally and in her facial expressions especially.

    January 25, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  8. Jon V

    Jan Brewer is a sad representation of Arizona. I am extremely disappointed she is our Governor. What an embarrassment to have the Governor of your state appearing to scold the President of the United States like he is one of her children. You can have disagreements with someone without ambushing him at the airport for a photo aimed at firing up her extreme Tea Party base. Pathetic.

    January 25, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  9. Thinker

    What a rude and disrespectful woman. She apparently she doesn't like being called out as a liar.

    January 25, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer needs to grow up. We can’t blame the audience behaviors in the GOP debates when governor behave like this

    January 25, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  11. Ken845

    She has just been out in that hot Arizona sun a little bit too long. It has fried her brain and turned her face into a prune.

    January 25, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. Wesley Pittman

    Obama doesn't love this country. He is trying to ruin it. Fight on in 2012 to get rid of him.

    January 25, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Nanci

    I think she stays awake at night, just thinking of new ways to make us (here in Az.) look bad.

    January 25, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. augustghost

    Just another cry baby republican....so tired of it

    January 25, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Deborah

    I am calling the governor's office in the morning to complain about her disgusting behavior. She must have lost her mind! You do not point your finger in someone's face . That is aggressive as well ill mannered.

    January 25, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  16. logicnothuff

    OK, so Obama gets off the plane and hollers in Jan Brewers face and then turns around and walks off while she is responding. What a hood. This president is a psychiatric study of mendacity. So Arizona asks for help with the wave of great danger from the lawless drug gangs so the Obama administration PUTS UP SIGNS, and then files a lawsuit against Arizona to stop their laws to try to maintain LAW AND ORDER!! Ha, the Democrats are the party of Destruction. Obama is devastating to our country and he is God's judgement on us for twisting Israel's arm to give land to the PLO terrorists. Go get'em Jan. Good job. Please tell us if you saw eyeballs of peace and leadership? or eyeballs of a mafioso?

    January 25, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  17. Keith

    Brewer is another right wing neocon extremist who would readily convince herself that Obama saying "hello" was some kind of personal attack on her. So no doubt her book was an accurate reflection of her uncivilized view of reality.

    January 25, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  18. Dixie Independent voter

    Mr. President, I apologize for the rudeness of the governor of my state –Arizona. She is just as sour as she looks. Many here want to make her a one term governor.

    January 25, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  19. MEF

    If you want to read her book, look for it in the Fiction section of your local library.
    OK, seriously, and I mean this literally, she is sometimes delusional. She said her Dad died while fighting the Nazis, when in fact he died 10 years after WWII ended. She claimed Arizona deserts where littered with immigrant remains, some beheaded, which was completely debunked by (of all people) Fox News. And she’s hired well known lobbyists to run prisons in AZ.

    She stinks of made up facts and racism, no wonder Obama shunned her on the tarmac.

    January 25, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. Laurie

    She has no respect for our president. I'm in Arizona and we will work really hard to get her out of office. She and her broom need to fly away. President Obama, you took our great governor away and this is what we got...ignore her.

    January 25, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  21. Uthor

    He's the President of the US; she won't even be a footnote in history. Whatever.

    January 25, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  22. bajadelmar

    Oh yeah, nothing says lending a helping hand like a lawsuit. It's funny how illegal immigration was not an issue when DUHbya was in control.

    January 25, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  23. dina

    Obviously Arizona governors have no manners and do not know how to treat a president.Maybe she should do some other kid of work.

    January 25, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. Paul Williamson

    Arizona is still the Wild West, and Gov. Brewer thinks she is the town Sheriff, with no respect for the Feds, including the President of the United States. She is just another right wing nut case, Arizona style, slightly more rationale than the right wing nuts from South Carolina..

    January 25, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  25. Jay

    This is exactly the kind of behavior that almost cost Senator Gifford her life. The Secret Service should immediately taser any tea party terrorist the moment they make a threat to the president. Her book was not doing well so she wants to quit her job as govenor next and be the next Sarah Palin and go on Dancing With the Stars. My advice to her is to stay out of the sun and start taking your medication and learn some manners. America has had enough of the tea party terror campagin and we want all of them out of office next election.

    January 25, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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