OBAMA HAS HEATED ARGUMENT WITH AZ GOV
Wed Jan 25 2012 18:33:56 ET
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."
UPDATE: POOL REPORT
Your pooler asked a White House official for comment on the Brewer encounter, and received this statement on background:
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. The President looks forward to continuing taking steps to help Arizona's economy grow.