Thursday, January 26, 2012

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Shakes Her Finger in Obama's Face

Jan Brewer, Obama have heated exchange during airport greeting

By Jessica Testa / Cronkite News Service (MCT) | Thursday, January 26, 2012 | | West

PHOENIX — The Arizona Republican governor who has "Scorpions for Breakfast" says she was chewed out Wednesday by the leader of the free world.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s greeting at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport devolved into a tense exchange after President Barack Obama raised concerns about the way the governor’s political memoir portrayed him, according to Matthew Benson, her spokesman.

"The president clearly was unhappy with the way he was characterized in her book," Benson said in a telephone interview.

According to a pool reporter, the two spoke intensely for a few minutes and talked over each other at times. At one point, Brewer pointed her finger at the president. He appeared to walk away from the conversation, with Brewer still talking, and the governor said later that she didn’t finish her sentence.

Brewer, who appeared flustered and taken aback, told the pool reporter that when she asked Obama whether he read her book, he said he had read an excerpt. Later, a post on her Facebook page said Obama had disagreed with the way her book, released in November, depicted a meeting they had at the White House in 2010 after the governor signed SB 1070, the state’s controversial law on illegal immigration.

Benson said Brewer has no regrets about the incident.

"She was gracious but didn’t back down from the president when he voiced her displeasure with her," Benson said.

A representative in the White House Office of Media Affairs said he couldn’t comment.

In "Scorpions for Breakfast," Brewer discusses her handling of SB 1070 and its fallout, accuses Obama of mischaracterizing the immigration law’s provisions and describes a sharp exchange during a meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.

The governor, who didn’t join Obama during his visit to an Intel Corp. plant in Chandler, handed the president a handwritten letter welcoming him to Arizona and saying she was happy that he would see the state’s economic recovery.

"She made clear that we pursued very different economic policies in Arizona than he’s pursued in Washington," Benson said.

She ended the letter by repeating an invitation for the president to visit the U.S.-Mexico border.

Brewer told the pool reporter that she had "all the respect in the world for the office of the president. 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," Brewer said. "I know again that he loves this country and I love this country."
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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