Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had a "tense" exchange with President Barack Obama at the airport when he arrived on a visit to Arizona on Air Force One outside Phoenix on Wednesday.
The two were seen engaged in an apparently tense and terse discussion after Obama came down the steps of the presidential jet. In spite of the body language of the two, they were smiling while they spoke.
After they had been talking for a while, Obama began walking away while Brewer still spoke to him. MSNBC reports that Brewer confirmed she had not finished what she was saying when Obama began walking away.
Reporters later asked Brewer what the discussion was about and she answered, "He was a little disturbed about my book."
According to MSNBC, Brewer recently published a book titled "Scorpions for Breakfast." In the book, Brewer defended her decision to sign Arizona's controversial law imposing stricter restrictions on illegal immigrants, a move which Obama is opposed to.
Obama, in the "tense" airport encounter, according to MSNBC, had been objecting to Brewer's account in her book of a meeting between the two at the White House. Obama was upset with Brewer's account which gave the impression he had not treated her cordially. Brewer, in her book, had said Obama "lectured" her like she was a classroom kid and he a wise professor. According to Brewer: "I felt a little bit like I was being lectured to, and I was a little kid in a classroom, if you will, and he was this wise professor and I was this little kid, and this little kid knows what the problem is and I felt minimized to say the least."
Brewer, in a Fox News interview with Greta Van Susterren, said she greeted the president on the tarmac and handed him a letter that contained a welcome note to the state, “He immediately took umbrage, if you will with my book, ‘Scorpions for Breakfast,’ and was somewhat disgruntled, if you will, by the way he was portrayed." Brewer added: "He’s very thin-skinned.”
In the Fox News interview, Brewer said she was "taken aback" about how offended Obama was about the way she portrayed him in her book. She said: “He was offended about how I portrayed him in my book. And I was taken aback. And I wasn’t going to back down, obviously. I mean, I stand by what I wrote. And it was the truth, and we just seem to have to agree to disagree, I said, on immigration.”
According to Brewer, while she talked Obama walked away. She said: “He walked away. I was in the middle of a sentence and he walked away.”
Though Brewer had earlier said she only discussed economic issues with the president in a brief meeting before he left, she later said: "Don't be mistaken, I'm bullish on our nation's future. But I'm convinced the path the president has pursued is the wrong one. I hope he takes some of the lessons of Arizona back with him to Washington."
MSNBC reports that when Obama was leaving, Brewer handed him an envelope with a written invitation to return to Arizona to meet her for lunch and join her in a visit to the border. She told reporters: "I said to him, you know, I have always respected the office of the president and that the book is what the book is... I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, and the attitude that he had because I was there to welcome him."
White House officials said Obama told the Republican governor he would be glad to meet her again. According to an aid of Obama, the president felt she inaccurately described his meeting with her in the oval office. The aid said the meeting was friendly and cordial but Brewer described it in a different light.
The Hill meanwhile reports that Senator John McCain is unsurprised by Obama's tense exchange with Governor Jan Brewer. According to McCain, on Fox Business Network: “Apparently Bobby Jindal, the [Republican] governor of Louisiana, had a similar exchange with the president. It is very well-known [that Obama] has a prickly personality, and I think it has been displayed in both of those cases. Jan Brewer is very concerned about the security on our border. I think it’s a very legitimate concern.”