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. Vanessa

    So much disrespect is so very sad! It amazes me that people think this kinda of behavior is acceptable! I believe this will backfire on Mrs Brewer & every Republican who think they can disrespect our president! He will victorious & he will have the last laugh when he's reelected! Hispanics 4 Obama .. yes we can, si se puede!

    January 25, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. vet2640

    Who wouldn't be taken aback when confronted with the "wicked witch of the south-west". Brewer has no respect, shows no class,a non-person at best.

    January 25, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  3. rtbrno65

    Why would he say anything about that stupid book at all? This makes him look a bit petty.

    January 25, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  4. Janet

    When is this acceptable? How do we the people allow the President of the United States to be utterly disrespected. President Bush ruined our economy and I can't ever remember him experiencing this much disrespect. How dare you put your hands in the face youths Commander and Chief. Who are you Governor Brewer? Get your hands out of MY PRESIDENTS face. DEMOCRATS I call you out. Let this have happened to Bush and the governor a Democrat, REPUBLICANS would have called for her resignation. So what are you going to do? It's time to stand up. Not only for our President but also for other Democrats. Let's see if you have the courage.

    January 25, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  5. Midwestmatt

    Isn't this the same governor that said there were headless bodies buried in the desert without offering an ounce of proof in order to foment anger toward illegal immigrants?

    She's classless, clueless and a disgrace due to her reprehensible behavior.

    January 25, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. wiggman

    Total lack of respect for office of president of these united states and no respect for her own office of governor, I didn't like Bush but I hated Conjay West disrespecting the president, the sad thing is that the world is watching us and how we behave and if the office the president carries no weight here, it won't abroad

    January 25, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Nevander

    How low class, unprofessional and disrespectful of her. This woman clearly hates Obama for reasons that don't have anything to do with his political views. To lose control and put her finger in the President's face as he exits Air Force One with the press and the public in full view shows without question she does NOT respect the office of the President. It doesn't matter what he said; he never raised his hand at her. She's an embarrassment to our country just like Palin.

    January 25, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. Just make it up

    Yeah, it means re election time for her, and she is just trying to make herself look like she can take on the president. Really classy move on her part.

    January 25, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. n2video

    Jan Brewer is a total embarrassment to the State of Arizona and herself as a human being. In this brazen act, she disrespected the President and showed all of the nation what a hateful, racist she is. Waiving her finger in the President's face shows her "Uncle Tom" attitutde toward all people of color. She needs to PUBLICLY apologize to the President and to the American people...and none of this "if I offended you" half-apology. The entire nation is offended.

    January 25, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  10. I just puked in my mouth

    Jan brewer is a shiny example of republican pride... mom said if you don't anything nice to say... make it up ...so there!!

    January 25, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  11. E Mal

    I live in AZ and im ashamed. She is such white trash to insult the president like that. The sooner we get disgusting republicans out of the office the sooner Obama can do his job.

    January 26, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. pb

    Why does the President's advisors allow him to get near Brewer? She is unstable and everyone knows it. This isn't the first time she has made a scene. She is erratic and is using this as a means of publicity for her "book". Shame on President O's advisors!!!

    January 26, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  13. Mark

    He is wasting his time going to AZ. That place is worse than TX for democrats.

    January 26, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  14. MoeL

    Jan Brewer...always brewing up hate.

    January 26, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  15. vet in tx

    Silly girls and their silly crushes, its really getting obvious

    January 26, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  16. DaveinSC

    Ah, the power of a woman scorned.

    January 26, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Cardog

    This is another Joe Wilson Moment for a Teapublicant. These people, from the clowns running for president down through governors, congresspeople and others simply do not respect our President. They are able to display their dislike (bigotry) because it's just part of their DNA.

    January 26, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. Johnny DC

    Good for Gov. Brewer!

    It's well beyond time that this president learn that everyone doesn't answer to him and his influencers. Congress doesn't exist to do his bidding, and neither do state and local officials.

    He swore to uphold the Constitution of these United States and he has repeatedly usurped power. He is either intentionally doing this, or he is grossly incompetent. Either way, he – not unlike George W. Bush – is setting increasingly dangerous precedents for future presidents.

    All leaders should take note of the courage to stand up to this man, within the confines of the Constitution, of course.

    January 26, 2012 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  19. Anonymous

    What the problem with the Governor is she really just mad the President on her turf to speak?

    January 26, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. AK_steve

    Just what we have come to expect from a GOPer. They shout, yell, point, blame, swear.... at the PRESIDENT.

    Shame on them for such disrespect. This is how they treat the President. Well, you don't represent my basic beliefs in human decency. And they call themselves the "moral" party. What a load of crap.

    January 26, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. Joe citizen abroad

    Based on Governor Brewer's public behavior throughout her time in office, particularly in front of cameras, I'm surprised anyone could have a "cordial" discussion with her, let alone a coherent one.

    January 26, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  22. Steve

    I think the governor should have respect for the president. But he is not a king and she shouldn't have to bow to him.

    January 26, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. Will

    It is just another example of how much the GOP DISRESPECTS the office of the President of the US.

    January 26, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. Pheensy

    The U.S. Armed Forces,, collectively, should be responsible for securing the borders between America and Mexico. This so called President has acted very irresponsibly in this matter. I cannot wait to see him out of office. If he looks bad, it's his own fault,

    January 26, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  25. Joe in Austin

    Republicans think their job today is to mouth off.

    January 26, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
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