McCain backs Brewer in tarmac tiff, calls Obama ‘prickly’

President Obama is spending the day in Las Vegas and Colorado trying to sell his vision for America’s energy future, but he’s going to have to work to overshadow the buzz around his personal clash with the Arizona governor the day before.

On Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) came to the defense of Gov. Jan. Brewer in a conversation with Fox Business Network, where he suggested that President Obama can be a little abrasive.

“Apparently Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, had a similar exchange with the president,” McCain said Thursday morning. “It is very well-known he has a prickly personality and I think it has been displayed in both of those cases.”

The dispute played out in a brief interaction on the tarmac in Phoenix on Wednesday, when Obama deplaned Air Force One and shook hands with Brewer. Brewer is the champion of her state’s controversial anti-immigration law, and has complained that Obama talked down to her in a White House meeting in which they discussed the issue.


Obama greeted Brewer cordially on Wednesday, according to journalists who were present, but before long the two seemed to be talking over each other. At one point, Brewer pointed a finger at Obama, an image captured by an Associated Press photographer. Television cameras had already turned their attention to the crowd gathering at a rope line where Obama was headed.

“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 White House said in a statement. “The president looks forward to continuing taking steps to help Arizona’s economy grow.”

Here’s McCain on Don Imus’ show Thursday: