Arizona Governor Jan Brewer defended her finger-pointing exchange with the president Thursday, saying she had prepared a handwritten letter to Barack Obama and was instead dragged into a dispute over her book.
Reports asserted the two argued after pictures of the Wednesday encounter portraying the governor with her finger pointed at the president emerged. The finger wagging incident also led state Democrats to call for an apology. Online speculators deemed the entire thing a publicity stunt.
Brewer denounced stunt claims Thursday as "absolutely ridiculous." She told Fox News that she went to the airport tarmac to greet the president with a personal letter. When she shook his hand, Brewer said Obama confronted her about her book's portrayal of a White House meeting.
"He immediately took umbrage, if you will, with my book Scorpions for Breakfast and was somewhat disgruntled, if you will, about the way he was portrayed in the book," she described.
Brewer's staff released a copy of the governor's note to prove that she intended to cordially greet the president.
The one page letter written in cursive start, "Dear Mr. President, Welcome to Arizona!"
It continues, "You've arrived in a state at the forefront of America's recovery – and her future. We both love this great country, but we fundamentally disagree on how to best make America grow and prosper once again. I'd love an opportunity to share with you how we've been able to turn Arizona around with hard choices that turned out to be the right ones. And, of course, my offer to visit the border – and buy lunch – still stands."
The letter ends with "With respect, Jan."
Brewer's November 2011 book details her fight for immigration reform and the passage of state Senate Bill 1070 authorizing local law enforcement to question and detain suspected illegal immigrants, among other things.
In her account, she also wrote about a meeting she had with the president in 2010.
"I felt a little bit like I was being lectured to, and I was a little kid in a classroom, if you will, and he was this wise professor and I was this little kid, and this little kid knows what the problem is and I felt minimized to say the least," she detailed.
White House officials countered her claim saying the 2010 meeting was cordial.
Brewer told Fox News Thursday, "I want our borders secured, I want our nation protected, he wants amnesty and we're never going to agree on that and we agreed to disagree on that subject. So I don't know why he was surprised by my book but he evidently is and he's very thin-skinned in regards to it."
In fact, Brewer said the president walked away while she was mid-sentence.
Obama downplayed the incident with ABC's Diane Sawyer Thursday. He told Sawyer, "This was really not a big deal."
However, the president did not directly shoot down publicity claims.
Rather, he said, "What I have discovered is that I think it's always good publicity for a Republican if they're in an argument with me."