Mesa Mayor Scott Smith saw and heard the heated tarmac confrontation between President Barack Obama and Gov. Jan Brewer, but he's not convinced her finger pointing was what it appeared to be in the already infamous photo.

Smith said he thinks a photographer lucked out by snapping a picture as the governor moved her arm.

"As animated as the discussion was, I don't ever recall her pointing her finger," Smith told the Tribune Thursday.

Smith said he and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton were the only people close enough to hear Wednesday's tense exchange at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Smith later traveled in Obama's motorcade for Obama's speech at a $5 billion Intel microprocessor facility in Chandler, while Brewer did not.

Smith acknoledged the tension but wouldn't repeat what Brewer and Obama said. He noted Stanton has taken the same approach when interviewed.

"It's not ours to get in the middle of that," Smith said. "I'm hoping that it doesn't mask all the good things that are going on in Arizona. I think the president was here to celebrate something big. The Intel expansion is huge for this state."

Smith teased an audience of 500 on Thursday that he would reveal details of the argument over Brewer's book, "Scorpions for Breakfast." At Smith's state of the city address, he joked that he'd never seen two people more passionate about their Super Bowl picks.

"As a matter of fact, what really happened is that the governor said if the Giants win, you have to have a breakfast of scorpions," Smith told the crowed. "That's how it all played out, none of that other political stuff."

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(3) comments


I am proud of Jan for standing up to the President. He needs to know if he might be doing something that is wrong. He can believe what she says or reject it.

Look at all the movie stars who spend their whole lives with people that say "yes" to them all the time. They end up being individuals with lots of power, and out of touch with reality.


Unappreciative of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s book, "Scorpions for Breakfast," President Obama took her to task for her book when he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Brewer still made her point . . . which is spelled out in her handwritten letter she presented to Obama.

Dale Whiting

Hmm, let's think about this one. Who is know for short temper, lack of forthought and general all round crankiness? And who is know for patience, forthought and general all round willingness to accomodate? Ya! Now we know who started it, Ms. finger pointer!

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