Obama and AZ Governor Brewer have words (updated)
I find this a curious aside to the notion of Obama's "even temperment" and "coolness." It appears that even the tiniest criticism can set him off.
On the tarmac at the Phoenix airport, Obama and Governor Jan Brewer had what appeared to be an animated argument. We later found it was Obama's objections to how Brewer portrayed a meeting in the Oval Office between her and the president.
President Obama, alighting from the stairs of Air Force One in Phoenix this afternoon, was greeted by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who handed him an envelope and the two exchanged what appeared to be some heated sentiments. At one point, she pointed her finger at him.
Asked afterward what happened, Brewer said, "He was a little disturbed about my book, Scorpions for Breakfast.
"I said to him that I have all the respect in the world for the office of the president. The book is what the book is. I asked him if he read the book. He said he read the excerpt," she said, according to a pool report. "He didn't feel that I had treated him cordially. I said I was sorry he felt that way but I didn't get my sentence finished. Anyway, we're glad he's here. I'll regroup."
In the envelope she had given him was a handwritten letter, Brewer said -- "an invitation that I've extended to him before with regards to coming to Arizona and going to the border with me....We've had a remarkable comeback here and I want to share that with him."
A White House official confirmed the invitation and described the encounter in more bureaucratic terms: "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."
The pool reporter, POLITICO's Carrie Budoff Brown, said the scene was far from the norm. Aside from the pointing, they appeared to talk over each other and he appeared to walk away from her while they were still talking.
Brewer said the president brought up the book.
This was the offending passage in the book that apparently got Obama so riled up that he walked away from Brewer while she was in mid-sentence:
"It was [as] though President Obama thought he could lecture me, and I would learn at his knee," she wrote, according to Capitol Media Services. "He thinks he can humor me and then get rid of me."
It's not like we haven't heard that before from others who have met with the president. He lectures to the American people all the time, why not in private?
As far as criticisms of Obama goes, it is milquetoast. That it would set the president of the United States off is indicative of a thin skin - far thinner than a politician should be expected to have, especially the president. And the fact that the president chose a public venue to defend himself from a personal - not political or policy - criticism is just plain weird.
Obama made it through the 2008 campaign without much in the way of criticism directed at him. Now that he's running for re-election, and he has a record to defend, does he expect everyone to just fall into line and extoll his virtues and praise him for what a great job he's doing?
Looks like it.
Update: Teri O'Brien writes:
Prof. Lott is currently at Yale, but for a time he was at University of Chicago, at the same time that Barack Obama was an adjunct lecturer. He told us that the one thing that impressed him about Obama was "his unwillingness to talk to people he disagreed with." He goes on to describe two encounters with the former Illinois State Senator, both of which ended with Obama rudely turning his back on Prof. Lott and walking away. Sound familiar, Governor Brewer? The audio is here.
Prof. Lott is currently at Yale, but for a time he was at University of Chicago, at the same time that Barack Obama was an adjunct lecturer. He told us that the one thing that impressed him about Obama was "his unwillingness to talk to people he disagreed with." He goes on to describe two encounters with the former Illinois State Senator, both of which ended with Obama rudely turning his back on Prof. Lott and walking away.
Sound familiar, Governor Brewer?
The audio is here.