President Obama‘s warm reception in sunny Arizona on Wednesday lasted about as long as it took him to step off Air Force One and greet Gov. Jan Brewer.
Brewer, champion of her state’s controversial anti-immigration law, welcomed Obama on the tarmac with a handwritten letter and an intense conversation in which, at one point, she pointed her finger at him.
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.
Afterward, Brewer told pool reporter Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico that the president seemed upset about her book, “Scorpions for Breakfast,” in which she criticizes Obama for opposing her law.
Brown quoted Brewer to the press corps: “He was a little disturbed about my book. 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.”
Obama did not mention any dust-up at his next event at a new Intel factory outside Phoenix. Brewer was not present.