The Arizona gubernatorial debate was marked by the strange performance of Governor Jan Brewer. She couldn't get through her simple opening statement and turned on her heel and walked away from her post-debate media session.
Brewer was on stage with her Democratic opponent, Terry Goddard as well as Libertarian Barry Hess and Green Party candidate Larry Gist. As she began her prepared introductory statement, she stumbled over her words and then went silent for what seemed like an eternity. More than ten seconds passed without a word coming out of her mouth. She chuckled a bit as she began to speak again.
Brewer and Goddard spent the bulk of the debate sparring over the state's budget and the ever-present hot topics of immigration and the state's statute, known as Senate bill 1070. The two issues were linked all evening by the candidates. Brewer's claim that she has balanced the budget was countered by Goddard's statements about a $700,000 million shortfall the legislature will have to addressed when it returns for its 2011 session.
The fallout after the passage of Senate bill 1070 was taken on by Brewer and Goddard from opposite ends of the argument spectrum. Goddard was attacked by the governor for his support by unions who, according to Brewer are part of the threatened or actual state boycott. She demanded that he renounce their support. Goddard said the governor had driven economic development away by saying in June that local law enforcement had found headless bodies in the Arizona desert, part of increased violence along the border with Mexico. He called on Brewer to admit that her inflammatory claims were untrue.
After the conclusion of the debate, Brewer faced media who peppered her with questions about her beheading remarks, and why she wouldn't respond to Goddard when he asked her to recant. She ignored the question once, used talking points about other issues when it was posed a second time, and left the scene after she was again urged to give an answer. Multiple reporters were interrupting her sloganeering and as the call for her to address the question got more vociferous, she became silent, stared straight ahead, thanked the group and walked away with her handlers trailing behind.
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