Why Obama/Ariz. Governor Greeting Quickly Turned Ugly

Dispute stemmed from difference of opinion on governor's book

   

What started out as a friendly meeting between President Barack Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on an airport tarmac quickly became heated Tuesday. What was the brouhaha over? A book.

More specifically, Brewer’s recently published memoir, Scorpions for Breakfast, drew the president’s ire. Obama disputed the details of a meeting between the Arizona governor and himself in 2010 at the White House to talk about immigration. Brewer said that she felt like Obama was lecturing her on the issue, a charge that Obama denied, apparently in vehement fashion.

Brewer, a Republican, was a staunch supporter of legislation passed in Arizona that was among the broadest anti-illegal-immigration measures every enacted. Obama was among many critics who said the law, which made it a misdemeanor for immigrants to not have registration papers on them and required police officers who pulled over someone they suspected of being an illegal immigrant to check that person’s immigration status, went too far and violated civil liberties.

Ironically enough, although it appears that Obama started the spat, the most memorable picture from the incident is one of Brewer pointing her finger at the president. Obama eventually left the conversation mid-sentence, though Gov. Brewer said to reporters at the time that they would re-group later.

Was Obama right or wrong to bring up this issue during what should have been a cordial meeting between politicians? Let us know what you think by e-mailing us at letters@investorplace.com.

– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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