President Obama visited Arizona on Wednesday on his post-State of the Union tour, and on the tarmac in Phoenix was met by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. News cameras picked up what seemed to be a tense conversation between the two, including Brewer pointing her finger at Obama. As David Nakamura reported:
The unusual confrontation--which included Brewer pointing her finger at Obama, and Obama walking away--centered on Brewer’s newly published account of a meeting she and Obama had at the White House in June, 2010, officials said.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer defended herself after a contentious exchange with President Obama Wednesday about her book "Scorpions for Breakfast." Brewer was photographed pointing her finger towards the president. (Jan. 26)
Obama descended the stairs of Air Force One and was greeted by Brewer, who was waiting for him along with other politicians in a traditional receiving line. Brewer offered Obama a letter, which she later said was an invitation to sit down with her to discuss Arizona’s economic “comeback” and to join her for a tour of the U.S.-Mexican border.
The president told Brewer he would be happy to meet with her, a White House aide said, but also informed the governor that he thought she had been inaccurate in describing their earlier session in the Oval Office.
Brewer’s book, “Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure the Border,’’ details her conservative approach to dealing with the state’s illegal immigration challenges. A review published in the Arizona Republic said that Brewer casts Obama as “condescending” and skewers him repeatedly. Although she originally described their Oval Office meeting as cordial, the newspaper said, “in the book she calls the president ‘patronizing’ and said ‘he lectured me.’ ”
“He didn’t feel that I had treated him cordially” in the book, Brewer told reporters Wednesday. “I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president. The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt.”
In an excerpt available on Amazon, Brewer defends Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 immigration law that she signed into law in 2010, but whose toughest provisions were overturned by a federal judge.
Brewer writes that Obama “has repeatedly made fun of those of us who want to see the law enforced, saying we want a ‘moat’ with ‘alligators’ in it around our country. The reason he has resorted to these failed attempts at humor, I think, is that he supports a policy that is fundamentally undemocratic, and he knows it.”
On Thursday, Brewer told reporters she thought Obama was “thin-skinned” about their disagreements over her book and policy differences. As David Nakamura explained:
Making the media rounds after tangling with Obama over her criticisms of him in her recent book on immigration, Brewer described the president as wound-up from the moment she greeted him on the tarmac.
“He brought up my book and he was a little tense,” Brewer said in an interview with KFYI radio. “He said he read the excerpt and didn’t think I was very cordial. I said we’d have to agree to disagree. He was a little thin-skinned and tense, to say the least.”