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Gov. Brewer: Obama Needs to Know What's Really Going On in Arizona

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 2, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer goes "On the Record." And hours from now, she is meeting with President Obama at the White House. Governor Brewer joins us live here in Washington. Good evening, Governor.

GOV. JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta. It's great to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Governor, what does bring you to town? Not just the meeting with the president, but what brings you to town?

BREWER: Well, originally, we planned our schedule to come and be a participant in the meeting of the President's Council of Governors. So there's five Republicans and five Democrats going through a cadre of different issues that we will present to the NGA in July at our national meeting.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, there was a lot of discussion. First we heard that the president said that the -- the president's schedule was unavailable to see you. And obviously, there's a huge dispute between the state of Arizona and the federal government. The president's schedule has now opened up?

BREWER: Yes, and we were very pleased. We found that out yesterday, so it worked out very timely. I was anticipating having to come back to visit with him, and now I get to meet with him tomorrow. So I'm looking forward to that visit.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you make sure it's not a -- just a photo-op? Because you know, there's a lot of controversy surrounding it, that it looked like -- it looked to many like he was dragging his feet, he didn't want to see you, that, you know, he's been very critical of the Arizona statute. So how do you tomorrow make sure that you're not being used?

BREWER: Well, you know, I'm hoping that he is very sincere about inviting me over and sitting down and speaking with me, Greta. It is so important, and I think it's important to not only the state of Arizona but to all of America that we are able to tell him exactly what is taking place down there in Arizona and that we need to have our borders secured. And we need to have the federal government do their job.

It's -- you know, it's simple. And I believe now that he has made some indication that he's going to send the National Guard to Arizona. I have no details on it. I don't know how many he's sending to Arizona, if he's sending any to Arizona. And what in addition is he going to do? Because, of course, I believe that we need not only more troops on the border but we also need certainly the fence built and we need to look at other items, such as aviation, that is so much important in the battle of fighting the illegal immigration.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I got the sense that he's sort of cornered, you know, that he was sort of forced to have to meet with you. You know, he didn't want to -- he hasn't had a press conference from last July, so he's got a lot of heat, suddenly, he has a press conference. He says he doesn't have time to see Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, and people are starting to complain, Why don't -- you know, this is a huge, important problem. Well, suddenly, his schedule opens up. So it -- I don't get the sense that it's sort of -- I feel like he's been cornered, not willingly wanting to do this.

BREWER: Well, I'll take the meeting any way I can get it, to tell you the truth, but you know, I have been writing letters, trying to get their attention since I...

VAN SUSTEREN: Answer?

BREWER: ... became governor. No. I haven't received any answers, neither from the administration or from Homeland Security or the Department of Defense. And so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. I'm anxious to see what he has to say. I'm anxious for him to hear what I have to say and be able to come up with some solutions to solve the problems that we're facing here.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long do you have with him tomorrow?

BREWER: I have no idea. I have no idea.

VAN SUSTEREN: They didn't tell you!

BREWER: No idea. In fact, just up until about a few minutes ago did I know exactly what time we were going to meet. But our appointment tomorrow is at 1:30, and I'll be there with what one might classify as bells on.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you're going to have a list of questions?

BREWER: I don't have a list. I think...

VAN SUSTEREN: A list of demands?

BREWER: You know, I have plenty to talk to him. I'm sure he has plenty to talk to me about. You know, I am concerned. We want our borders secure. We're tired of this illegal trespassing into the state of Arizona and moving through the rest of the United States. We can't afford it. We're not going to tolerate it. The people of Arizona deserve to be able to live safely and not in fearful of their lives in Arizona.

You know, it -- and we can't sustain the costs that we're -- that we're having to pay in response to that. You know, when you think about it, incarceration, when you think of education, when you think of health, you know, it's awful. The kidnap capital of the world is Phoenix because of the drop-houses, the drug cartels. You know, it's not -- it's not right. We can't tolerate it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going -- you know, he has said the new statute in Arizona, the illegal immigration statute, that he has been very critical of it.

BREWER: He has.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to raise that with him? Because he has instructed his Justice Department to take a look at your statute and perhaps sue the state of Arizona.

BREWER: Well, you know? And I hope that his legal staff looks at 1070 and that they review it. And we are prepared to defend it all the way to the Supreme Court.

VAN SUSTEREN: Going to raise it tomorrow, though, with him?

BREWER: You know, if I have the opportunity. I would assume probably they might raise it with me. But you know, it mirrors federal law. And if the federal government is not going to do their job, well, Arizona's going to help them do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What -- what -- how come there's no sort of -- I mean, you send letters off to the federal government, and you get nothing. I mean, what's with that?

BREWER: Oh! It's frustrating. It is very, very frustrating. I mean, this is an issue that has been haunting America for what, eight, nine, ten years, with nothing being done about it. And then to send out letters onto the federal government, who is responsible -- that is their responsibility -- with no answers -- very, very frustrating. And people on the border and our border states understand the issue. It is -- it is devastating. It's a tragedy. It's a tragedy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are any of the boycotts affecting you?

BREWER: You know, we haven't -- no, not at this point in time. You know, I think it was a bad thing that people want to do that to the people of Arizona. The people that they think that they might want to help are the people that are being hurt the most. I would never call for a boycott against any state.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what about the boycotts against your state, though? Economic cost or not?

BREWER: What?

VAN SUSTEREN: The boycotts that people have called against your state -- have you actually felt anything...

BREWER: We haven't felt any impact on that...

VAN SUSTEREN: Not yet.

BREWER: ... at this point in time, you know? And the fact of the matter is, even if they do boycott, I think if we get the immigration problem under control, it's all going to balance out. It's not going to have that big of an impact, I don't believe, at this point in time. However, I did call together Department of commerce and the business community to see what we can do (INAUDIBLE) I invite everybody out to Arizona. We have a beautiful state. We have wonderful things to see. And we're friendly and we love people and y'all come!

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: You seem pretty tough. You don't seem -- you seem pretty tough. You don't seem very afraid. You going to be in awe when you walk into that Oval Office or are you going to be just as tough tomorrow with the president?

BREWER: Well, you know, it's -- it is awesome to be able to go and speak with the president of the United States. It's not my first rodeo with the president of the United States. I've been very fortunate, having served in office (INAUDIBLE) my lifetime, that I was there with Ronald Reagan, I was there with Papa Bush, I was there with G.W. Bush. And so I've been there a few times, so -- you know, after all, it's our house, right?

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, did -- the head of Homeland Security is former governor of Arizona...

BREWER: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... Janet Napolitano.

BREWER: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Since this dispute between the federal government and the state Arizona of has arisen, have you had any communication with her at all?

BREWER: I had one telephone conversation with her way back...

VAN SUSTEREN: She called you, or you called her?

BREWER: She called us and indicated a little bit about what her intentions were as far as Homeland Security, but it was over a year ago when I spoke to her, so...

VAN SUSTEREN: So not since the new statute.

BREWER: No. No. So -- and I understand that she's not going to be available tomorrow, that she's out of the -- out of the -- out of the office tomorrow. So I'm not going to be seeing her, I don't think, unless for some reason, she might show up. I understand there's going to be a few people there, though.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who's going to be there?

BREWER: My staff has got the list. I think their lawyer's going to be there, the White House lawyer, and I believe Valerie Jarrett. You know, don't hold me responsible for these names, but I think that -- and then a couple of other people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who are you bringing?

BREWER: Well, I'm hoping to bring my -- once I knew their legal counsel was going to be there, I've invited my legal counsel to come. And he was cleared, so he's going to be there. And I'm bringing a policy person, Brian McNeil (ph), and Kim Sabo (ph), my (INAUDIBLE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Speaking of -- speaking of legal counsel, you have gone outside of your attorney general...

BREWER: We have.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... to fight the feds on this illegal immigration law. Why did you go outside and get your own lawyer?

BREWER: Well, you know, the attorney general in Arizona has been very, very vocal that he doesn't support the legislation. He's been on record over and over and over again that he doesn't support it. So why would you hire an attorney that doesn't agree with what he's doing? You know, anybody that hires an attorney, whether you're guilty of murder, you don't want your lawyer standing up saying, Well, he's guilty, and then he's going to go and defend you publicly. So basically, you know, the legislature felt that it had lost confidence in the AG in regards to this issue, so they gave me statutory authority to go outside and hire my own counsel, and we have done that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you heard from the United States attorney general, Eric Holder, anyone he works with, about -- about your statute?

BREWER: I have not. I have not. The only thing I've heard from them is basically on television and in the newspaper.

VAN SUSTEREN: Don't you find that odd?

BREWER: I do. I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that nobody bothers to -- I mean, they're not - - nobody's talking -- no one will talk to you?

BREWER: No one -- no one has reached out. I mean, you know, you watch TV, you read the newspaper and you hear the commentary on all of it. And you know, the biggest hoot was, of course, Have you read the bill? No. Well, you know, we would have appreciated it, before they made comments, if they would have read the bill, at least!

VAN SUSTEREN: So (INAUDIBLE)

BREWER: You know, we went over -- Greta, we went over that bill with a fine-toothed comb. We feel it's constitutional. It mirrors the federal law. You know, I made absolutely sure that it was not racial profiling. (INAUDIBLE) those of us the Southwest. We have diversity our whole lives. We love that diversity in our beautiful state! And you know, so you know, I feel very, very...

VAN SUSTEREN: Why?

BREWER: ... comfortable...

VAN SUSTEREN: Why'd they do that? Why did people not read it and criticize it?

BREWER: I have no idea.

VAN SUSTEREN: Politics?

BREWER: I think that they -- it could very well have been politics, or they just believed that they had maybe seen something similar to it somewhere along the line or...

VAN SUSTEREN: It's terrible! I mean -- I mean, he can at least read it!

BREWER: It is terrible.

VAN SUSTEREN: You should at least read it! You may disagree with it once you read it, but to jump out on it before you even read it...

BREWER: It is -- it's ludicrous. It is absolutely unbelievable that you'd have people of -- the chief law enforcement person of the United States, meaning, you know, the -- Eric Holder, making those kinds of statement -- was just...

VAN SUSTEREN: No (INAUDIBLE) No calls of apology.

BREWER: None. None. Maybe -- maybe tomorrow.

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: If I were you, Governor, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one!

But we're going to take a quick break, if you'll just stand by.

BREWER: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have much more with the governor in two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Governor, you like the job?

BREWER: It's been a real ride! It's been -- yes, I do. You know, it's interesting, when you look at it. It's been tough. It's been a long 15 months. But the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, you get to do things that other people have never been able to do and you get to leave your footprint. And I believe that if you do what you believe is right, then you feel good about it, you know? And it's been hard. It's been difficult. It's been a time that's been interesting in America.

You know, I inherited a terrible fiscal crisis, one that I didn't create, that I was going to resolve and had to come out with plan in order to deal with that, and then the immigration issue on top of it, so -- but we're going to get through. We're resilient. We're a strong-willed people in Arizona.

VAN SUSTEREN: I was surprised that the voters voted for a temporary increase in sales tax.

BREWER: They did. They did. And you know, it was something that I pushed back on, saying -- I had never voted for a tax increase in my 28 years of public service, ever voted for a tax increase. But when you looked at the figures and you look at the facts and you realized exactly just how bad the deficit was, there was no way that Arizona was going to get turned around. And it's not even a cure-all. I mean, it's not going to cure it all. But it certainly helps, a three-year temporary one cent sales tax. And decided I was going to do what was right. I was going to go out and ask the people, and the courageous people in the legislature sent it to the voters, and the people overwhelmingly voted...

VAN SUSTEREN: Stunning, I thought. It was stunning that the people voted to...

BREWER: It -- it -- especially, I mean, you know, at difficult, hard times. So took a lot of courage on a lot of people's behalf that -- I felt that if you tell them the truth, you give them the information, that they would do what was right. And so I'm proud of the people of Arizona. And that is really going to help us bridge it, you know, for those three years. And we will do everything that we can to make the economy turn around in Arizona. And in three years, I think that we will be in good shape.

VAN SUSTEREN: Health care.

BREWER: Health care!

VAN SUSTEREN: You were opposed to the national health care bill.

BREWER: Oh, I am. We are. Arizona (INAUDIBLE) it is devastating to our state. It's going to cost us a fortune, you know? And again, I think it's unconstitutional, you know? When in the history of America has the federal government required you to buy something, and if you don't, they're going to penalize you for it? It's going to cost us, you know, millions and millions and millions of dollars. And now we're finding out that under the FMAT (ph) that they're not going to fund it. And you know, like, 30 states have already put that money into their budgets and balanced their budgets on that. It's going to cost us another, you know, millions and millions of dollars if that money doesn't come through.

So we're hoping that the Senate will address that. But it's devastating. It's just absolutely devastating. And why in the world, in my opinion -- why in the world, where America has the finest health care system in the world -- people from all over the world come to Arizona, when we have something like this take place? It's just wrong. And it's costing people money that they can't afford.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thirty seconds left. Senator McCain's got a tough race, or at least -- not a tough race, he's got a very -- I don't know if it's tough or not tough, but...

BREWER: Every race is tough!

VAN SUSTEREN: Every race is tough!

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it's certainly getting attention.

BREWER: It is. It is. And it's interesting. Senator McCain, of course, has represented the state of Arizona for a long time. And J.D. Hayworth has served in Congress for eight years. And you know, certainly, I believe philosophically, they're different breeds of politicians. And people will just have to make that decision. I've known Senator McCain for a long time and I think he's served Arizona well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we certainly know Arizona. In case people forgot, Arizona belonged to the United States in the past few months, we've certainly -- it certainly has been made known, and we're going to watch (INAUDIBLE) And good luck tomorrow. And will you...

BREWER: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Will you talk to us to after your meeting?

BREWER: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, good.

BREWER: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll hold you to that.

BREWER: OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll get Governor Brewer -- have her -- will tell us all about the meeting tomorrow. Thank you, Governor.

BREWER: Thank you, Greta.

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