Brewer refuses to debate Goddard again in gubernatorial race - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Brewer refuses to debate Goddard again in gubernatorial race

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Posted: Thursday, September 2, 2010 2:02 pm | Updated: 1:38 am, Thu Nov 11, 2010.

Arizona voters won't be seeing any more debates between the top gubernatorial contenders.

Incumbent Jan Brewer told Capitol Media Services Thursday she has no intention of participating in any more events with Democrat Terry Goddard. In fact, she said the only reason she debated him on Wednesday is that was a condition of her taking more than $1.7 million in public funds for her campaign.

"I certainly will take my message in a different venue out to the people of Arizona," she said.

Brewer said she has been in elected office for 28 years.

"And Terry has done so nearly as long," she continued. "I think it's pretty defined what he stands for and what I stand for."

Anyway, Brewer said, she believes the debates help Goddard more than they benefit her.

"Why would I want to give Terry a chance to redefine himself?" she said.

Brewer conceded that her performance in Wednesday's debate - and her refusal to answer a question from reporters afterwards - was not well handled.

It started with her opening statement when she lost her train of thought and went silent, which she describes as "my 16 seconds of the longest time of my life." The actual amount of dead air actually was closer to 10 seconds.

But Brewer also said she could have handled herself better after the debate when, rather than answering questions about her prior statements about headless bodies in the desert, she instead walked away.

"Coming off a debate like that, let's be honest, it's stressful," she said. "And I wanted to do a real good job."

Brewer blamed part of her post-debate activities on her gaffe in her opening statement. The governor also said she presumed reporters would want to talk to her about some of the issues raised during the hour-long televised debate.

"All you guys were doing and talking were beheadings, beheadings, beheadings," the governor said.

"That is something that has stuck with you all for so long. And I just felt we needed to move on."

But the subject arose because Brewer herself, during the debate, said the unions that support Goddard are to blame for financial fallout over the issue of illegal immigration. She said Goddard should disavow union support because they have called for boycotts of the state.

Goddard responded that any hesitation some people may have about coming to Arizona is because Brewer herself has scared off tourists with comments on TV that headless bodies are being found in the desert.

Medical examiners in Arizona have said they have found no such corpses, though there have been multiple reports of beheadings in Mexico. But Brewer chose to ignore questions about headless bodies. And when no other subjects came up, she walked off.

"I guess it's because of the way that it's always addressed to me as so aggressive coming from the media," the governor said. "All of a sudden, I get defensive."

Anyway, Brewer insisted she has been misquoted.

"I never said ‘Arizona,'" Brewer said, regarding beheadings in the desert. "And it's unfortunate that it was construed as ‘Arizona.' And I'm sorry if people thought that I said it was in Arizona."

The record, however, shows otherwise.

"Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert, either buried or just lying out there, that have been beheaded," Brewer said in a June appearance on Sunday Square Off on KPNX-TV 12 in Phoenix. And the governor said "there are people all over Arizona living in fear."

On Thursday, though, Brewer said she was referring to what is happening south of the border.

"And I am concerned about the spillover regarding the drug cartels and their activities," she said.

Goddard, in a prepared statement, does not agree with Brewer's decision to avoid future debates.

"It is our responsibility to give Arizonans clear information that will allow them to exercise their fundamental right to make an informed decision about who should lead our state into the future," his statement said. "Arizonans deserve more than a single discussion of the issues we face."

Brewer, however, told Capitol Media Services she does not believe that such face-to-face confrontations necessarily educate voters.

"I don't believe that things come out in proper context in an adversarial atmosphere," she said. And Brewer said she is available for interviews.

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