The Rocky Relationship Between Jan Brewer and Barack Obama, Explained

Last year, Republican Arizona governor Jan Brewer ignited controversy after a photograph circulated of her wagging her finger in President Obama’s face. The image went viral, drawing many different reactions. Some were shocked by her apparent show of disrespect, while others applauded her for confronting him. Regardless of the reaction, the story received a great deal of attention — and any publicity is good publicity if you're a Republican governor with a book for sale.


Though there is no audio of their exchange Brewer, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, said the incident centered around comments she'd made about the president in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast. She told the station that the president said she wasn't "very gracious" in her characterization of him in her book, to which she replied, "I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry that you were disappointed, but my book is a truth-telling book." Seems pretty eloquent for someone who felt it appropriate to wag her finger in the president’s face. However the lack of audio makes confirmation of her story impossible.

What is true is that the spectacle between Brewer and Obama ended up increasing Brewer’s book sales dramatically. Scorpions ranking on Amazon shot from 343,222 right after the confrontation to 169 the next day.

Interestingly, Brewer couldn't seem to decide how she felt about the president. When she appeared on CBN she played the part of the conservative hero who stood up to the Obama administration. However, shortly after the incident Brewer told KTAR, a Phoenix radio station, "I would never disrespect a president. I certainly wouldn’t disrespect the office of the president."

Brewer's back-and-forth attitude continues today. She told Politico earlier this month that the president should get serious. "It’s Jay Leno comedy every other week," she said, a few days before Obama appeared on Leno's show. Despite her critique, she was apparently "cordial" to the president when he visited Phoenix a few days after her Politico interview.

Brewer's wishy-washy position on the president since the incident doesn't do much for her credibility. One moment she’s a conservative warrior insulting him; the next she's claiming she'd never do such a thing. It does not look good for Brewer, who's momentary financial gain from a "controversy" of her own making looks less governor-like and more flash-in-the-pan.

What does the president have to say? He claims the whole situation was "really not a big deal."


Leaves you to wonder why Brewer would want to make it one.