Arizona Governor Declines Obama’s White House Dinner Invitation

Jan Brewer, the Republican governor whose stormy tarmac meeting with President Obama became the source of controversy, said she had a schedule conflict.

Posted: 02/27/2012 05:09 PM EST
Jan Brewer, Republican Party, White House, Arizona, President Obama, National News, Mitt Romney

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, whose tense tarmac meeting with President Obama made headlines, decided not to attend the National Governors Association’s annual black-tie dinner at the White House over the weekend.

Brewer, a Republican, said she had a scheduling conflict and added that she and the president did not speak when the governors had another meeting at the White House one day later.

Brewer became a subject of controversy when she greeted the president at the airport in Phoenix with a letter asking for a meeting on Arizona’s economy and a request to visit the state’s border with Mexico.

The governor and the president spoke at close range for several minutes. During that time, Brewer was photographed with her finger pointing at Obama. Later, she said, she made a habit of speaking with her hands.

“The tarmac issue was a little distorted rather than reported probably the way that it actually happened,” she said, speaking to reporters recently.

When Brewer was asked by reporters to disclose the scheduling conflict that prevented her from attending the White House dinner, she responded with a laugh. Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the governor, declined to say whether the conflict was related to Arizona state business or personal.

"We’re not going to get into our schedule,” Benson said.

Brewer was harshly criticized by supporters of the president, who said that her behavior toward Obama had been condescending and insulting. Others, particularly the governor’s fellow Republicans, considered her behavior to be a reasonable, person-to-person interaction and that she did nothing that could be considered ill-mannered.

On Sunday, Brewer endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” She said that it was important for Romney to become president.

“I don’t know how much endorsements do,” she said. “I would like to believe that it would help. But I believe that Arizona will stay a red state and I’m going to work real hard to work hard for Mitt Romney.”

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(Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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