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Obama, GOP Governor Caught by Media in Heated Exchange Over Negative Book

President Obama Jan Brewer - H 2012
AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

The president confronted Jan Brewer over her characterizations of him in "Scorpions for Breakfast" as “patronizing” and “condescending."

President Barack Obama might want to add book-critic-in-chief to his other titles.

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When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, greeted President Obama on the tarmac at Phoenix-Mesa Airport on Jan. 25, cameras caught much more than the traditional handshakes, waves and smiles of a traditional photo-op. News footage showed the president and the governor engaged in a spirited conversation, with Obama leaning forward intensely and Brewer wagging her finger back at him.

What were they talking about? The president "was a little disturbed about my book," said Brewer, referring to her November book Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border. Obama objected to descriptions of two meetings that made him appear rude, particularly a harsh description of her November 2010 White House visit. The president was “condescending” and "patronizing," treating her “like the cop he had over for a beer after he bad-mouthed the Cambridge police. … He thinks he can humor me and then get rid of me.” In addition White House staff treated her rudely and her aides had their phones and cameras "confiscated" by the Secret Service. “Too bad we weren’t illegal aliens, or we could have sued them,” she wrote.

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On the tarmac, Brewer handed Obama an invitation to return to Arizona to visit the border when he said her book mischaracterized their encounters. "I said … the book is what the book is" and "I was sorry he felt that way but I didn’t get my sentence finished," said the governor.

This might not be the last time Brewer gets a critique from the president either. After their tarmac meeting, Brewer told a Phoenix radio station that she was "taken aback" and "shocked by the sternness" of President Obama criticism, describing him as  "thin-skinned and a little tense."