Overheard on CNN.com: Pointing fingers getting out of hand?
President Obama had an intense encounter with Gov. Jan Brewer before joining his motorcade Wednesday in Arizona.
January 26th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Pointing fingers getting out of hand?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The president is not well-liked in sections of Arizona. But when two politicians can't put aside a petty disagreement and get along socially ... it's sad.
–Portland tony

Lots of people are talking about an intense exchange between President Barack Obama and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on the tarmac in Arizona on Wednesday. A photo shows Brewer pointing her finger at Obama. The governor said the president brought up an unflattering description of him in her book, "Scorpions for Breakfast." Our readers (some claiming to be Arizonans) debated what went wrong in this exchange and advocated political civility.

Obama shares intense encounter with Arizona governor

"2012 is going to be a nasty year in politics," predicted commenter Monroe.

We saw some posts from people who were outraged by Brewer's actions.

Jon V: "Jan Brewer is a sad representation of Arizona. I am extremely disappointed she is our governor. What an embarrassment to have the governor of your state appearing to scold the president of the United States like he is one of her children. You can have disagreements with someone without ambushing him at the airport for a photo aimed at firing up her extreme Tea Party base. Pathetic."

But others said the finger-pointing scene is being misinterpreted and Obama should not have confronted Brewer about her book.

Dave: "It is a snapshot of a woman who talks with her hands. Besides, (Obama) was the one out of line. It was the wrong place and wrong time to bring it up. What he needed to be doing was taking notes on how to fix an economy because Arizona is on the upswing at a much greater pace than the U.S., like most states being run by fiscal conservatives."

Some had little sympathy for Brewer.

Anonymous: "I love how Brewer accuses the president of being thin-skinned, yet she's the one running to the press like a hurt kid crying for mommy. My guess is that the president half-jokingly, half-seriously said something like, 'So, will you be using this meeting as the start for your next piece of fiction?' and then she played the 'Oooh, feel sorry for me; I'm such a victim of the mean old president' card."

But could Obama have benefited from some thicker skin?

Joe: "Any president in the past would have had enough polish and confidence to dialogue with a governor, even if that governor was not supportive of his policies. I fear Obama has become so arrogant that he cannot enter into discussions with anyone who challenges him. This inability, among countless others, shows serious flaws for this guy. And such difficulty does not bode well for him in the upcoming debates. I think 'thin-skinned' is a good description for Obama. In a debate, Newt Gingrich would reduce him to a quivering mass of rage."

Some people said Brewer was engaging in bad politics.

liyahofarizona: "Can she not see how cheap and two-faced she is. If her last meeting was really as bad as she says why would pretend to smile and invite him to something that has nothing to do with his visit. I am a Republican, but honestly I feel like the President should always be respected and this woman really should behave better. I dont see why politicians would write tell-all books about others when they need to maintain cordial relatioships whilst still in office. Its like writing a book about a valued client whilst you are still working for the company that provides a service to the client. You just don't do that."

But Obama could have been the bigger man, this reader argued.

Leigh2VA: "He looks weak taking issue with that Governor over something she's written in a book which criticizes him. And turning on his heel and walking away while she's in mid sentence, after he preaches getting along to the rest of us in his State of the Union Address? I guess actions do speak louder than words."

This commenter said they hope this incident isn't a bad omen for Republican candidates.

Reagan Republican: "He we go again, a repeat of the bad behavior by the members of my party to score points with some of the most hardcore mean spirited constituents. Did we not learn anything from 2008? This is partly why he got elected in the first place. Brewer as an elected official should know better, but no!! she watnted to make a name for herself. and a photo op, say people can say, Boy she took it to him. Our President, like him or not, ever the consummate professional leader stayed calm, cool and collected. I am hoping that Mitt and Newt do not try and run with this, but instead stay away from it. This nonsense and disrespect of this man and his family did not work the first time around and it's not going to work this time. We saw what happened when McCain waited to late to put a stop to the nonsense. Focus on the issue and develope a plan, that is the only way we are going to win, if not we will have to wait till 2016."

What do you think about the aforementioned exchange? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Arizona • Barack Obama • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    I SAW PICTURES, hamsta.
    A picture says a thousand words, doesn't it?
    You will now try to backpedal and find an excuse, which I will not listen to, any more than you listen to me.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sirned

    It makes no difference what Brewer was upset about. Her conduct was rude to our President of the United States of America and as a Governor she should show some class. Book sales shouldn't trump respect for a President...

    January 27, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • JC

      Simply put, rightly said. I find the lack of respect for this president appalling. Is it a party thing, is it a race thing, or is just the overall erosion of civility and class in this country anymore?

      January 27, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • vatoloke

      She has no class to show. She is now the poster child for the Fright Wing Faction of the GOtP.

      January 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emperor

      Well, so much for trying to model good behavior and respect for the highest offic in the land. I am a Republican and I am angry about the level of disrespect that other Republicans have shown President Obama. One does not have to like the personality but it is the responsibility of all of us to respect the office. All disagreements can be discussed rationally and in a civil manner. Pointing of one's fiinger at the President,or any other human being demonstrates the pointer's level of maturity. Her finger shoule been broken,.

      January 27, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    It was a most inappropriate public display by a public official and is being rightly criticised.
    @ banasy
    no point getting into an open minded discussion with closed minds. You'll just get frustrated. We value your presence and contributions on this blog.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. banasy©

    Thank you, saywhat.
    That means a lot, coming from you, sir.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. TXJack

    So Obama can say whatever he wants about anyone.
    But let someone else say something about him and all of a sudden it’s a big thing.
    So are we living in a Fascist or communist country.
    Or is this still the USA and we have free speech.
    I say good for her, let him have it with both barrels.

    January 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Good

    That-s girl, do your stuff! Name of the game, is courage and guts! The more he doesn't like the more you lay it on – thick.

    January 29, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Time for a teachable moment ?

    Is it time for another teachable moment from the president? He can lecture us from his podium on how to treat others when a person is talking to them or he and the governor can have some scorpians for lunch.

    January 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. OlSkoolMoma

    The fact that the President, his wife, kids have been ridiculed, maligned, and downright disrepected says alot ab out us to other countries. USA better be careful...never know who is paying attention!!!

    AS far as Brewer is concerned...she is acting like an out of control kid and needs to be put in a serious timeout!!!

    January 30, 2012 at 6:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. DstinguishedG7

    It is often said that it is the one that speaks the loudest for the crowd that never gets anything done....I have seen this country take information from people that have no honor and respect for the President (Commander and chief) and make desicions for millions for state and country. All I see is a hand full of fools with degrees and those who spent vaction in the military making moves that they can't make in there own homes. I am sick of the disrespect from our offices in congress. I will make this claim today, our country will fall if we do not rebuild what got us here in the begining "unity and Justice for all". I am 10 years in the military and I will run for office just to remove fools that stand in the way of progress for our country. Congress you do not own this country, if you feel so then serve your country in battle. I am tired of cowards speaking for me, I am tried of cowards standing behind a name called Tea Party speaking for me. I am tired of cowards sending our jobs over to countries that want nothing but to see the U.S fall . I am tired of fighting for cowards that would allow other cowards to give them permission to take care of the men and women that protect them with there lives. We should make it a policy that every american that serve this country in military have the right to run for office first before people that never made a pledge to protect this country with there lives. We need warriors in Congress, not cowards that speak politics and political racism.when we fight we fight together. when we serve we serve with blood, honor and a real american flag while you serve as a coward, a button as the flag and a cheap tailored uniform made outside of the US. When you hear the national anthem you cross your heart, when I hear it, I face it exposing my heart and saluting knowing that we never lost a battle to no man. I want respect from you cowards!!! As long as we wear this uniform and protect you, give our Commander and chief Respect!!!!!! that goes for every mayor, governor, congress, media and anyone who seek out to remove the face of this country.

    If you love this country serve this country

    January 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kneesus

    President or no president, if somebody start pointing their finger in your face are you really going to have any kind of constructive or beneficial conversation?

    January 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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