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.
According to pool reporters who were present, Obama and Brewer seemed to be talking at the same time, seemingly over each another, until he walked away mid-sentence, reports Los Angeles Times.
“He was a little disturbed about my book,” Brewer told a reporter after the incident, referring to her political memoir, “Scorpions for Breakfast.” In the book, Brewer depicted Obama as “patronizing” during an earlier meeting.
According to Boston Herald, 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.
“I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president,” Brewer said. “The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt. So.”
A White House official offered this take on the encounter: “The governor handed the president a letter and said she was inviting him to meet with her.
The president said he’d be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book.”
Brewer said Obama told her “that he didn’t feel I had treated him cordially.”
“I said I was sorry he felt that way but I didn’t get my sentence finished,” Brewer said. “Anyway, we’re glad he’s here. I’ll regroup.”
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.
During Wednesday’s encounter, Brewer handed Obama a handwritten letter asking him to sit down with her to discuss the “Arizona comeback,” The Huff Post reports.
“I thought we probably would’ve talked about the things that were important to him and important to me, helping one another,” Brewer said of a potential meeting with the president.
“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.”
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.
This isn’t the first time Obama and Brewer have disagreed. In October, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought on by Brewer that accused the Obama administration of failing to enforce immigration laws or maintain control of her state’s border with Mexico.
“She made clear that we pursued very different economic policies in Arizona than he’s pursued in Washington,” Benson said.
Hours after delivering an intensely political and populist State of the Union address, President Barack Obama took to the road on a three-day tour of five politically crucial states that pollsters say will very likely decide the outcome of November’s election.