Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and President Barack Obama had a tense conversation as the president arrived in her home state of Arizona Wednesday.
After Obama stepped off Air Force One onto a tarmac outside Phoenix, he was met by Brewer, a Republican, who was greeted at the foot of the plane's stairs not with good tidings but by his disappointment in the way her new book describes a meeting they had in the White House.
After the exchange--during which the two politicians at one point were speaking at the same time and seemingly over one another--Brewer told the Associated Press, He was a little disturbed about my book.
She went on to say on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Mac & Gaydos Show that he was not pleased with the passage in her book.
He was a little thin-skinned. Brewer said in an appearance on Arizona's News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Mac & Gaydos Show. I was a bit taken aback by his stance and his attitude. ... I tried to listen and tried to be respectful to him.
She then told the radio hosts that she tried to not be angry with Obama, though he seemed to walk away while they were still talking:
I was trying to make a point that I thought that my book was right and correct, she said.
The tome includes a passage about a 2010 meeting she and Obama had at the White House, in which Brewer claims the president lectured her. The AP reports that in a November TV interview Brewer said the president did blow me off at his commencement address at Arizona State University.
She went on in that TV interview to describe the White House meeting discussion on immigration: 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.
While still on the tarmac, however, Brewer did give Obama a handwritten invitation to come back to Arizona to have lunch and visit the border with her, the AP reported.
And the New York Times reported that Brewer tried to downplay the passage:
I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president, she said, according to the Times. The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt. So.
The Times reported that Gov. Brewer went into further detail about what about the book bothered Obama: That he didn't feel that I had treated him cordially. I said I was sorry he felt that way but I didn't get my sentence finished. Anyway, we're glad he's here. I'll regroup.
He brought up my book. And he was a little tense, she reportedly said. He said that he had read the excerpt and he didn't think that I was very cordial. And I said, 'Well, we agreed on that day to disagree.' And he was somewhat thin-skinned and a little tense, to say the least. And I don't remember -- I was trying to be calm. You know, that picture [referencing an AP photograph of Brewer pointing her finger at Obama] is very interesting but I don't remember actually doing that. And he moved on down the line.
A White House official confirmed to the AP that Brewer had given Obama the invitation and that he would gladly meet with her once again.
Read the full text of the White House press pool report on Wednesday's tense meeting between Gov. Brewer and Obama below:
President Obama arrived in Phoenix at 3:15 pm local time, finding the chilly weather of Iowa giving way to sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60s.
He stepped off Air Force One at 3:28 pm and was greeted by Gov. Jan Brewer. She handed him a handwritten letter in an envelope and they spoke intensely for a few minutes. At one point, she pointed her finger at him.
Afterwards, your pooler spoke with the governor.
'He was a little disturbed about my book, Scorpions for Breakfast. 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. So.'
Asked what aspect of the book disturbed him, Brewer said: 'That he didn't feel that I had treated him cordially. I said I was sorry he felt that way but I didn't get my sentence finished. Anyway, we're glad he's here. I'll regroup.'
On the letter, she said it was personal letter asking him to sit down with her to discuss the 'Arizona comeback.'
She said she 'reiterated an invitation that I've extended to him before with regards to coming to arizona and going to the border with me.' She said she would take him to lunch.
'We've had a remarkable comeback here and I want to share that with him.'
She said the president brought up the book.
'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.'
It was clear from the moment they greeted one another that this would not be a run-of-the-mill encounter between the president and a local official. At one point, she was pointing her finger at him and at another, they were talking at the same time, seemingly over each other.
He appeared to walk away from her while they were still talking, and she confirmed that by saying she didn't finish her sentence.
When Brewer spoke with your pooler, the AP and an NBC producer for several minutes afterwards, she appeared a bit flustered and taken aback by the conversation. Asked if she was, that's when Brewer said, 'I'll regroup.'