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.

Also see:

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Filed under: Arizona • Jan Brewer • President Obama
soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. fitz

    This is that same governor who did not show up at the memorial for the shooting of Rep. Giffords. Now will she explain that one please.

    January 25, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  2. Muhammad Anwar

    Hey Jane, he is still the POTUS !!! You just cant stand a black man in white house.

    January 25, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  3. Martha in CF

    Ms Brewer is the typical disrespectful republican. Obama was not there for her. He was there to share with us about Intel and job creating. I hope she went back to her capital building and pouted. Or maybe she told false statements as she did in the White House. Your state is upside down Ms Brewer-you're its leader–fix it.........

    January 25, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  4. Dave

    Republicans need to STOP LYING. Period. It will be the ultimate disgrace and death of your party if you continue as if you can say whatever you want and there are no consequences.

    January 25, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  5. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    What I have seen of Jan Brewer suggests that she is no more fit to be Gov. of Arizona, than her buddy Joe Arpaio is fit to be Sheriff. Both come a across as pathetic right wing nutbags, and neither of them deserve any respect or civility, from either the President of the United States, or loyal citizens of the United States.

    January 25, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. Monroe

    I saw that that picture of the governor pointing her finger at the president. A woman can do that to a man but reverse it, and the man is a patronizing, arrogant prick. Besides, I know what the governor said to the president.
    "......I'll get you my pretty....and your little dog, too!!!!..." LOL!

    Just a re-elect Jan stunt. My dog could see that!

    January 25, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. SMayPower

    Jan Brewer is a champion. What a patriot!

    January 25, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  8. Tonyl

    If Repubs love this country and understand a basic democratic principal about our past is that the nation can only move forward after a economic disaster previous government left this nations future in, is by compromise instead of extremist view of any one side. There are different views from both sides but a compromise is te only way out of this conundrum.

    January 25, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. Monroe

    2012 is going to be a nasty year in politics.

    January 25, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. John Doe

    Good for her. I am glad to see that she is keeping the fire to the President. ALL politicians should have their feet held to the fire, including Speaker Boehner.

    January 25, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  11. garwin1

    Jan Brewer is a LIAR.

    January 25, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. Whatelse can you expect

    Some people have gotta learn how to address President Obama respectfully. I have never heard of any other president being disrespected the way this one has been disrespected by his colleagues from the opposite side. President Obama is not the first Democratic president to have held office in American??? Why does it seem he has been received insolently on more than one occassion by the republicans? Calling him LIAR while he gives a speech to congress (Rep Wilson), Not returning his telephone calls when negotiating during debt ceiling fiasco (Speaker Boehner), Now Governor Brewer...not to mention how many times some repubs and their media outlet refuse to call him PRESIDENT Obama...just Barrack. Where is the courtesy he should be awarded as your commander in Chief?? There is jsut too much...too much tension and animosity...I'd hate to think it is race related!!

    January 25, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  13. Marty

    That's what o'bama does. He blames others for his faults and shortcomings. When things don't go exactly his way, he whines like a baby.

    January 25, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. macrasta

    that governor seems so hateful and disrespectful.... I'm thinking if the democratic President was Clinton..why do I think she would NOT be pointing her finger and be combatitive...actions speak louder than words Brewer

    January 25, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. MikeH

    Crazy Woman (typical female Arizona Republican?) Jan Brewer may have come close to being wrestled to the ground by the Secret Service.

    Jan's mentally unstable and delusional as her many TV gaffes have illustrated, there was probably an officer poised to tackle her if she went over the top.

    January 25, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  16. westward

    Jan Brewer can go take a flying leap. She's nothing but a lying, self-centered bigot.

    January 25, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  17. AndyEsc

    In the military if you disrespect an officer you go to jail! Do it to a judge and you pay AND go to jail! This nut case needs some kind of reprimand for disrespecting the President! The insanity this man has to put up with behind closed doors and then have this half baked Gov. Jan Brewer dare to interupt AND point a finger at him like a child is beyond disrespect it's criminal and should be dealt with!
    Republican'ts are in thier own dream world maybe 90 days in the brig would wake her up to reality!

    January 25, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  18. April Garlow

    Really with all the problems we face–the President has the nerve to be concerned with a book–How totally immature and out of touch with the real devastating problems that real people deal with everyday! No one has ever seen him get angry about the poverty, and decay of our inner city infrastructure, or the homeless encampments-but oh don't say an insulting word about the thin skinned weasel!

    January 25, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. Pat

    She is PAST tense. She is a narrow, bigoted creep.

    January 25, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  20. Tony


    This poor excuse for a governor has no respect whatever for President Obama; but she gives lip service to respecting the "Office of the President".

    Newsflash for the governor...President Obama is the current occupant of the "Office of the President" and entitled to the respect thereof, no matter what she thinks personally.


    January 25, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. Leigh2VA

    He looks weak taking issue with that Governor over something she's written in a book which criticizes him. And turning on his heal and walking away while she's in mid sentence, after he preaches getting along to the rest of us in his State of the Union Address? I guess actions do speak louder than words.

    January 25, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. Thomas Abt

    Jan Brewer is a political lightweight and needs to mind her manners.

    January 25, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. ron07

    Jan Brewer....Apparently she has no respect for the office of the President. She's like all the rest of the tea party and their minions. If they don't get their way, or if you say something they disagree with, they throw a hissy fit. I thought Swartzenegger was an embarassment for California, but Brewer takes the cake. I'm sure most Arizonians are embarassed for her as well. Hopefully she will be a one-termer like all the other cuckoos who ran for state offices.

    January 25, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. A Southern Lady

    Gov. Brewer is not representative of the good people of Arizona but she is representative of some of the Tea Partiers who have taken over the once-proud Republican party. Her behavior was insulting and disgusting.

    January 25, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. SciGuy

    A governor outranks the President while in her own state, sine the federal govt is servant to the states. Hats off to Brewer for putting Obama in his rightful place.

    January 25, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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