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Apparently a better relationship between Democrats and Republicans is in the eye of the beholder. One day after his State of the Union speech, where he told Americans that genuine reform can’t happen unless we “end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common sense ideas,” president Barack Obama had what might be charitably described as a less than cordial encounter with Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer.
“He was a little thin-skinned,” Brewer said during a later interview on local radio station News/Talk 92.3 KTAR. “I was a bit taken aback by his stance and his attitude [on the tarmac],” she added. noting that Obama walked away from her “[as] I was trying to make a point that I thought that my book was right and correct.” The book in question is “Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border,” about Brewer’s approach to dealing with Arizona’s illegal alien problem. According to the governor, the president was “a little disturbed” regarding her description of a previous meeting between the two in the Oval Office on June 3rd, 2010.
At a press conference after that meeting, she described their talk as “very cordial, very very cordial.” Yet as one watches the video of that presser, one gets the impression that Ms. Brewer is carefully measuring her words. Apparently she was. In a review of the book published by the Arizona Republic, Brewer reportedly described the get-together as “one that started with some chitchat,” she writes. “But after a few minutes, the president’s tone got serious–and condescending.” She further noted that Mr. Obama “has repeatedly made fun of those of us who want to see the law enforced, saying we want a ‘moat’ with ‘alligators’ in it around our country. The reason he has resorted to these failed attempts at humor, I think, is that he supports a policy that is fundamentally undemocratic, and he knows it.”
Thus, what should have been a routine exchange of greetings between a visiting president and a state governor got testy. Brewer offered Obama a letter, which she later said was an invitation to sit down with her to discuss Arizona’s economic “comeback” and to join her for a tour of the U.S.-Mexican border. A brief exchange followed with Brewer pointing her finger at the president, and Mr. Obama apparently walking away before the Governor could finish what she was saying. A White House official seemingly confirmed Brewer’s account of the incident. “The governor handed the president a letter and said she was inviting him to meet with her,” the official noted. “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.”
This media-orchestrated kerfuffle obscures the larger political picture, one that was also addressed by the president in the State of the Union speech. “I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration,” said Mr. Obama. “That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.”
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