January 26, 2012
Barack Obama learns the book party lesson: Just say you liked it
by Dennis Johnson
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer got in a heated argument with President Barack Obama over her book yesterday when she greeted him upon his arrival at the Phoenix airport. According to a report in the Boston Globe, they were arguing about her memoir, Scorpions for Breakfast, which defends her anti-immigraion stance, which Obama opposes.
According to the report, when Brewer stepped forward to officially welcome Obama, the two immediately became engaged in an “intense conversation at the base of Air Force One’s steps.”
Brewer, a Republican, later claimed, “He was a little disturbed about my book.”
According to what Brewer told reporters, “Obama was objecting to Brewer’s description of a meeting he and Brewer had at the White House, where she described Obama as lecturing her.” A USA Today report adds that in the book Brewer also calls Obama “patronizing.”
An Arizona Daily Star report says Obama “appeared to walk away from her while they were still talking, and she confirmed that by saying she didn’t finish her sentence.”
In a local radio interview, she called the president “thin skinned” and said, “I tried to listen and tried to be respectful to him,” although all the pictures of the incident, like the one above, seem to tell a different story.
An anonymous White House insider tells the Washington Post a different story, too: The source says Brewer tried to hand the President an invitation to a private lunch, and “Obama told Brewer he would be happy to meet with her,” but he also “did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book.”
Nonetheless, in the Globe story, Brewer insists, “I said to him, you know, I have always respected the office of the president and that the book is what the book is.”
One would have to imagine that was the president’s point.
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him at @mobylives