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Dear Governor: Letters pour in over Obama-Brewer tarmac tiff

March 26, 2012|By Ashley Powers
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer points during an intense conversation with President Barack Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport on Jan. 25.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer points during an intense conversation with President… (Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated…)

In late January, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer famously wagged her finger at President Obama during a tense tarmac conversation at a suburban Phoenix airport. The resulting photo, taken just before Obama walked away from the Republican governor, flew around the Internet.

In the days after the exchange -- apparently over Brewer's book, "Scorpions for Breakfast," in which she slams the president for opposing Arizona's tough anti-illegal immigration policies -- Brewer’s office was flooded with 12,000 mostly critical letters and emails. After filing a public records request, the Arizona Republic was given 100 of them by the governor's staff.

Apparently, politically polarized America is (nearly) united on one thing: When the president lands in your state, mind your manners.

"If you approached me like you did the president I would have taken great comfort by poking you in the nose," wrote Eleanor Tafolla from Cathedral City, Calif. "You might want to work on you [sic] prissy attitude you project. Whoa lady you did not deserve a talk with the president or anyone else for that matter."

Brewer did have her defenders, however.

"The only thing you did wrong was wave the 'wrong' finger in his face," wrote Chuck Bower of Indiana, according to the newspaper.

Pundits have been divided as to whether the incident will leave any sort of lasting mark. Democrats said it might help Obama with Latinos, because Brewer is a symbol of border-hawk immigration policies.

But conservatives have not only hailed Brewer, they've snatched up copies of "Scorpions." Within days of the tarmac exchange, the book shot from No. 285,685 on Amazon's bestseller list to No. 8. 

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ashley.powers@latimes.com

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