Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | April 21, 2010

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Becky FengerBattle of the blondes

As her opponents have discovered, going up against talk show host Laura Ingraham is like drinking from a fire hose. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer got a taste of that force last week when she went on Laura's radio show to discuss Senate Bill 1070, the white hot illegal immigration control measure.

Laura was bound and determined to get Gov. Brewer to divulge whether or not she would sign the bill if and when it reaches her desk, even to the point of accusing Brewer of "playing games." Brewer was just as determined not to commit one way or another. "I have a policy of not commenting on bills that haven't reached my desk," Brewer stated again and again. This only made Laura poke and prod more.

"You have some primary challengers for the GOP election, including the state treasurer and newcomer Buz Mills. It's competitive out there, governor," Laura reminded her. Then she asked Brewer if she doesn't sign a bill like this into law, whether it might affect not only her primary but also John McCain's. "Well, John McCain is in a Senate race and John McCain has to look out for John McCain. I certainly support John," Brewer replied.

"So you're not a J.D .Hayworth fan on these immigration issues," Laura pressed.  "Well, it's not about being a fan of J.D. on immigration issues or otherwise. The fact of the matter is I support and respect John McCain and always have," was Brewer's response.

"I'm doing what I do as governor of Arizona. I have a long history of supporting strong legislation controlling illegal immigration in the state of Arizona. Like I said earlier, I will hold up my conservative credentials against anybody that's running against me in this governor's race," Brewer added. (Best not to mention her support of the sales tax increase here.)

When Gov. Brewer tried to tell her host it is the federal government's responsibility to control illegal immigration and the state cannot sustain border control, Laura leapt on her. "Federal government, federal government. You don't need to put it off on them. The people are looking for leadership here, Governor."

Ms. Ingraham went on to inform her audience: "The governor of Arizona won't state whether she will sign this bill – which has got a lot of national attention – into law. Not yet at least. Just so people understand: It's going to enable state police officers to toughen their own procedures. And they'll be able to now ask for proof of citizenship. Right?" Brewer responded, "According to the way the bill is written now, they'll be able to ask anybody in the state of Arizona for identification to prove citizenship. That could be reflected in a driver's license, because in order to get a driver's license in Arizona you have to show proof of citizenship."

At one point, Laura tried to tighten the screws by asking, "People want you to sign this legislation, do they not?"  Brewer answered, "I believe there is an outcry out there, because we have been so ignored. The fact of the matter is, I am not going to comment today on your show, as much as I love you, Laura." Then Brewer repeated her policy of not commenting on any legislation until it hits her desk. "You do whatever you want; you're the governor of Arizona," Laura said. "Thanks," laughed Brewer, in one of the few light moments of the segment.

Laura played for Brewer the comment Michelle Obama made in Mexico last week about President Obama: "Immigration reform is a very important topic for him that he wants to tackle, but it's important for people to know that it's going to take both members of Congress." 

"That's a little bit outrageous," Brewer said of the comment. She went on to explain how the Obama administration, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano all have completely ignored the border states in regards to securing their borders.

"What do you think of Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security secretary? Is she doing a good job?" Laura interjected. "Not to be too harsh, I am a little bit disappointed," Brewer told her. Again Laura erupted, "Not to be too harsh? You're not being harsh enough! You're saying immigration is a disaster, and she's the secretary of Homeland Security!" "Well, she has not been responsible, nor has she responded to things that she requested when she was governor. Now it just sits on her desk, and she just turns a blind eye to us. It's unfortunate, because if anybody should understand the situation the citizens of Arizona are facing, it should be Secretary Napolitano," Brewer lamented.

Now for the closing zinger: "Will you be cheering on Secretary Napolitano to the Supreme Court if the President decides to give her the nod for the big court?" Laura asked.

"Absolutely not," shot back Brewer. "She left this state in a mess, as far as I'm concerned."
So ended the interview.