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. nwatcher

    First time I've read comments on an article and so far no name calling by the usual post-ers!!!! Imagine, two real politicians an one of them says they both love America but still have disagreements. Sort of refreshing to hear. Maybe Arizona has two reasons to visit – Gov. Jan and Sheriff Joe!

    January 25, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  2. Jilli

    Well ms brewer, if your state is a mess, who's fault is that? Shouldn't you bear the responsibility? You are the governor after all. You believe in all that 10th amendment stuff, right? Well, fix your state, the federal government will stay out of your way.

    Funny, governors like brewer don't accept the responsibility of their positions – job creation at the state level is one of the governors primary responsibilities. She also expects respect from the President, but fails to show him any. Sorry sister, it doesn't work that way.

    January 25, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. BinMesa

    Our gov probably just had one too many while waiting for AF 1. She is such a disappointment. What can I say. If anyone thinks they have a bigger loser in their state government just come to AZ – you will be amazed how dumb a politician can be and still be elected.

    January 25, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  4. TK

    If she respects the "office" of President does she mean just not this person holding that office? Typical tea part mentality. What a sad leader you folks in AZ have.

    January 25, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. Chris

    This doesn't surprise me considering Jan Brewer is a nut bag.

    January 25, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |

    Jan Brewer needs to realize that Arizona is not the center of the country's concerns. Just one of many. If she wants respect and attention (and help), she needs to treat other others with the dignity and respect their office commands.

    January 25, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  7. midgick

    Just one more example of the lack of civility from the GOP. You're interacting with the President of The US. You don't have to agree with the man, but at least show respect for the office. Just another example of GOP hate and lack of respect.
    God when are you people going to realize that this country is evolving and changing? If we don't go with the flow, we go the way of the DODO BIRD(extinction).

    January 25, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  8. Tom

    The governor of Arizona is a right-wing zealot, and, as such, is not doing what is best for America.

    January 25, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  9. hap

    "Our country is upside down". Another example of the republican be afraid be very afraid scare tactics. Did you hear last nights rebuttle, I was worried Mitch was going to jump off a cliff afterwards. Gee all indicators are up, the market grew 60% over the last three years, the tide of decline that started going out in 2001 is coming back in. I may be wrong though, maybe she meant the ever growing gap between the haves and have nots is causing her concern...naaaa

    January 25, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Brewer is a bit paranoid when it comes to the boarder and immigrants. I would hope that she shows some respect to Obama when he visits.

    January 25, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. bkgrandma

    I'm not surpeised that Gov. Brewer was rude to the President or that she doesn't agree with him wanting to be compassionate and offer citizenship to innocent children of illegal immigrants. After all SHE IS A TRUE REPUBLICAN
    and we know they don't believe in being compassionate or polite. They still haven't read the NEW testiment telling the beliefs the man their religion is named after.

    January 25, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. Bill in stl

    He said She said, with this president I have no doubt that he lectured her, I have no doubt that he is disappointed/upset about it. just as I have no doubt that the liberals will come howiling out of the woorwork to defend him...

    January 25, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  13. peggy

    So what else would President Obama expect from Jan Brewer, a Republican Governor? Nothing

    January 25, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. Courtney

    Jan Brewer is a disgusting woman and a disgrace as an elected official. I am frankly tired of Republicans in this country being disrespectful towards this president. If I did what she did, to my mother of father, I would get my face slapped.

    January 25, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. Cat222

    Republicans are such LAIRS and so disrespectful! The President should have slap down her finger in his face....but then again he has too much class for that.

    January 25, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  16. J Al

    Get out of the sandbox kiddies and put your big pants on!

    January 25, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. stars

    I dont belive anything this wrinkle bat has to say.

    January 25, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  18. Expat American

    Another GOP crackpot making a fool of themselves. Seems to be happening a lot lately. Maybe she can go take a ride on Perry's 3-wheeled Peter Pan Jesus Christ Superstar Express and cool off for a little while.

    January 25, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Mercyme

    She's just another republican with their noses out of joint because the president has been able to accomplish some things without any thanks going to them.

    January 25, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  20. N&W 1000

    Obama is a worthless, clueless boob who is at war with the people of AZ.

    January 25, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  21. Beverly - NYC

    Who does this leather face, low class, wench think she is waving her bony finger at the President. She's lucky the President is a too much of a gentleman to tell her what biological function she can perfom on herself. Some people have no home training, but what else can be expected from the you lie crowd.

    January 25, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  22. Matt

    Don't be too hard on Jan Brewer, it's not as if she wrote the book. She was obviously peeved at being called out on a lie. For the readership, Obama can't be cordial, even if he was. He must be rude, condescending, and sipping red wine while he looks on with scorn. I mean...if he didn't act that way, entire world views might flip upside down. That's how most of us would act with such a racist twit of a governor in our office of course. Too bad she didn't join him at Intel and wanted to talk about other issues. Jobs are issue #1 for a lot of Americans right now, even if they're not for her.

    January 25, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. William dodge

    She should be fired

    January 25, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. Republicans are what is wrong with the USA

    It is time to send the children to time-out this November. Let's send the Teahadist packing and get the MAN back in the whitehouse. We cannot turn back the clock! Obama 2012! Don't listen to the negative complainers/conservatives. When is the last time you heard a conservative say something good about the USA?

    January 25, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. Madero

    Everyone knows Obama is a fraud and the Governor was just pointing this out in a face to face conversation.

    January 25, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
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