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Tag Archives: Jan Brewer

Payback? FEMA Denies Arizona Aid After Blaze Killed 19 Firefighters

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is suggesting President Obama reneged on a commitment to help the state recover from a devastating June 30 wildfire that killed 19 specially trained “Hotshot” firefighters, hinting politics might be involved in the decision.

“I don’t want to believe that . . . but you know, it’s very odd, very strange that it took them this long first of all,” Brewer told local Arizona radio host Mike Broomhead when when asked if the denial of Federal Emergency Management Agency aid to the state was politically motivated. “Normally you file for something like this you get a faster response,” she said.

Brewer said she was going to speak with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), whose state was also turned down by FEMA in 2011 for federal relief after disastrous wildfire season, a move that Perry suggested might be part of a political vendetta. The decision was subsequently reversed.

Brewer and Obama in January 2012
Brewer and Obama in January 2012

In statement, Brewer indicated Obama had led her to believe federal aid would be forthcoming.

“In the days after the fire, I appreciated the call I received from President Obama, during which he pledged to support our state during its time of great need,” she said. “I was even more encouraged when Vice President Biden reiterated that commitment at the memorial service for the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots. With today’s denial of the state’s request, Arizonans are left questioning what help they were willing to give.”

Brewer and Obama have had a famously rocky relationship. The two had a heated exchange in January 2012 that allegedly centered a passage in a book by Brewer claiming he was condescending to her during an Oval Office meeting.

FEMA said it denied Arizona’s request for aid because not enough uninsured individuals were victims of the conflagration.

But Brewer noted during the radio interview that the FEMA rejection came just days after Obama visited the state.

“I am so upset and so disturbed, if you will, that they have done this to the people of Arizona two days after he was here,” she said. “He encouraged me that they would get right on it. I just can’t believe it.” She termed his actions “absurd,” saying, “he flies in here and gives his campaign style speech – rah rah rah – flies over to California, and then they just slam down on us.”

After the Obama visit – but before the FEMA decision – Brewer released a statement criticizing Obama for using his time on the ground to promote “more big government programs” and for taking credit for Arizona’s economic progress.

“That credit belongs to the hardworking people of Arizona,” she said.

Brewer has vowed to continue seeking federal aid.

Brewer: No Driver’s Licenses or Benefits for Illegals

In what is being seen in some quarters as a slap in the face to President Obama, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer late Wednesday issued an executive order affirming that Obama’s limited amnesty for illegal immigrants does not alter Arizona law, which bars them from receiving driver’s licenses or state benefits.

The order doesn’t change Arizona law. But coming on the very day Obama’s new policy goes into effect, it sends a defiant message to the White House.

Brewer and Obama have had a rocky relationship that has put them at loggerheads over Arizona’s tough immigration laws.

Brewer said in a book that Obama was condescending to her during an Oval Office meeting. The two appear to have had an altercation on the tarmac just after Obama got off Air Force One during a January 2012 visit to Arizona.

Brewer insists that her action Wednesday was merely an attempt to clarify Arizona law amid the “chaos” she said has been brought by Obama’s policy.

“Because of the order by the Obama administration, by President Obama, to proceed with this amnesty program that started today, there were questions about what the agencies were going to do,” she said. “So we just made it perfectly clear so that there woud be no misunderstanding.”

Obama’s policy, created by an executive order of his own, forces the federal government stop deporting undocumented immigrants under 30 who came to the United States before they turned 16 and allows them to apply for work permits.

It amounts to an end run around Congress, which has refused to pass the Obama-backed DREAM Act that would create a path toward citizenship for young illegal immigrants who have gone to college or served in the military.

But the Obama order is temporary, only allowing deportation to be deferred for two years.

Brewer’s action Wednesday has sparked protests in Arizona and demands that Obama make his partial amnesty permanent.

Raw Footage || Obama and Brewer Smackdown

I thought you might want to see actual footage of the confrontation Wednesday between President Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R).

Obama was protesting passages in Brewer’s recent book that say he was condescending during an Oval Office meeting. The White House says she is lying.

Obama sought to minimize the exchange, but in doing so added a little insult to injury by suggesting Brewer was hyping the matter for political purposes.

“I think it’s always good publicity for a Republican if they’re in an argument with me,” Obama told Diane Sawyer Thursday.

You’ll notice Obama’s limo partially obscures the nastiness. I doubt he would have gotten into it with her if the cameras had a direct shot. I’m sure he was aware of where the cameras were, and I wouldn’t completely discount that the car’s positioning was staged so he could give her a piece of his mind.

This is the only video I could find that shows the full encounter right up to the point where Obama started walking away while Brewer apparently was still in mid sentence. The quality is not perfect, and title of the video is not mine.

Obama, Arizona Gov. Brewer Have Words in Phoenix

President Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) had what appears to have been an angry exchange of words on the tarmac in Phoenix over her portrayal of him in a book she published late last year.

This is from press pool reports describing Obama’s arrival this afternoon in the city:

He stepped off Air Force One at 3:28 pm and was greeted by Gov. Jan Brewer. She handed him a handwritten letter in an envelope and they spoke intensely for a few minutes. At one point, she pointed her finger at him.

Afterwards, your pooler spoke with the governor.

“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. So.”

Asked what aspect of the book disturbed him, Brewer said: “That 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.”


A little more from the Brewer-Obama encounter.

It was clear from the moment they greeted one another that this would not be a run-of-the-mill encounter between the president and a local official. At one point, she was pointing her finger at him and at another, they were talking at the same time, seemingly over each other.

He appeared to walk away from her while they were still talking, and she confirmed that by saying she didn’t finish her sentence.

When Brewer spoke with your pooler, the AP and an NBC producer for several minutes afterwards, she appeared a bit flustered and taken aback by the conversation. Asked if she was, that’s when Brewer said, “I’ll regroup.”

This, according to a another pool report, is the White House response:

The governor handed the President a letter and said she was inviting him to meet with her. 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.

In her book, titled “Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America’s Border,” Brewer writes that Obama was “condescending” to her during an June 2010 Oval Office meeting they had to discuss border security.

The meeting occurred after she had signed SB 1070, a state law that toughened enforcement of immigration laws and required law enforcement officers to attempt to determine an individual’s status when there is “reasonable suspicion” they may be an illegal alien.

Brewer wrote that during the White House meeting she sought to explain the situation in Arizona to Obama, but got a lecture instead.

“It wasn’t long before I realized I was hearing the president’s stump speech,” she wrote. “Only I was supposed to listen without talking.”