OTR Interviews

Ariz. Gov. Brewer No Fan of the Federal Government, Pres. Obama: He Keeps Talking About a Jobs Program That's Not a Jobs Program

Ariz. governor reflects on ongoing struggle to secure border and battle over state's immigration law


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Welcome back. We're live at the Arizona State Fair celebrating the 15th anniversary of Fox News Channel. And Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joins us. Good evening, Governor.

GOV. JAN BREWER, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta. Welcome to the Arizona State Fair.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much. And you've been wandering around, I heard, earlier tonight.

BREWER: I have. It's been fabulous!

VAN SUSTEREN: What have you seen?

BREWER: Beautiful weather. I went to the exhibit hall. I've been to the funnel cake place. I've been to maggot sandwiches.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's disgusting! Can I tell you (INAUDIBLE) I've actually -- Griff Jenkins is talking about the maggots. And people eat those maggot sandwiches, really?

BREWER: I have no idea. I certainly wouldn't indulge.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's pretty disgusting. Anyway, all right, lots going on in this state. Illegal immigration -- this has been the hotbed of that discussion. What's the story with your lawsuit with the federal government? The Justice Department still trying to shut you down on that.

BREWER: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: And they actually -- they have successfully so far.

BREWER: Well, the bottom line is, is, you know, we, of course, filed with the Supreme Court. And then they asked for a 30-day suspension. Then they asked for another 30-day extension to answer. And we agreed and granted. So we hope to hear from the Supreme Court probably around maybe the 10th of November, the middle of November, to see if, in fact, they are going to hear it or not.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, you've got the illegal immigration as an issue here, but you've also got an enormous amount of foreclosures in this state. What's going on with the housing industry here? It is really bleak. What could the federal government do to help you?

BREWER: Well, you know, the bottom line is, is that Arizona's economy basically was built on housing, and we have had a horrible situation that has affected our economy here. And we're just hoping that with my competitive package and my job package that we can get more jobs and bring in people to establish those jobs for those people that need it. And therefore, they aren't going to be able to pay their mortgages. It's been a disaster.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the federal government. They haven't been much help.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're not a big fan of the federal government.

BREWER: No, I am not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you a big fan of the president?

BREWER: Not really. You know, I respect the office, but Greta, you know, I don't think that he has done what he promised he would do. He has done nothing but keep talking about his jobs program, which is nothing but spending and taxing, spending and taxing. It's not a jobs program.

You know, we need to make it easier to do business in America, and certainly in the state of Arizona. And it's those people that create the jobs that he wants to tax to death! So I'm hoping that come November next year that we have a change of residence -- not residence but change of the person that's living in the great residence.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, speaking of that, 2012 -- I asked the vice president, I'll ask you -- I take it you're following that (INAUDIBLE) OK. When do you intend to endorse?

BREWER: Well, you know, I'm going to wait maybe for another month. We have a big debate here. And I'm going to look and see what they're going to discuss and if they've got better solutions than what I've heard so far. I think we have a wonderful bench of people that are running. I think they all understand the issue, and I think that they -- the issues that we're facing, and Arizona's been on the forefront of so many of these, the economy, jobs, health care, illegal immigration. You know, that seems to be the flashpoint in all the discussions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the candidates (INAUDIBLE) have a slightly different idea some -- on the idea of illegal immigration. So I imagine that Arizona's sort of watching very carefully that particular issue with the candidates because there does seem to be a difference among those candidates.

BREWER: Well, I think America is watching. I think everybody understands the issue that we're facing, and it's not only impacting Arizona. We happen to be the gateway. We want our borders secure. And I think America wants the borders secure. It's as simple as that.

And you know, we're grateful for the little that the federal government has done. Bottom line is our border is still open, and we still are having people come across. And we are the recipients of the drugs and the cartels and the crime and -- you know? And we are the gateway. So from Arizona, it goes to Wisconsin.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you mentioned something to me a little while ago -- you have a surplus?

BREWER: We do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, how did that happen?

BREWER: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, something obviously had to cut and hurt, but what -- what -- how did you get the surplus?

BREWER: Well, the bottom line, let me first say that, you know, Arizona had the worst budget deficit in the state -- in the country per capita. And so we were really, really, really hurting. So we came forward, we did a plan. We did a competitive package. And we went in and we trimmed the budget. We cut, you know, almost $4 billion out of an $8 billion budget. That's a whole lot of money.

And then we went forward and we established a new commerce authority and we encouraged other businesses to come here. And we planned and we did it the right way. And so we're very, very grateful.

And we had to borrow a little money, and I'm hoping that with the surplus that we can kind of hang onto that, maybe pay off a little bit of our debt. But we do have a surplus, about $500 million, and we're proud of that. Took a great effort not only with the people of Arizona understanding, but certainly, with the legislature moving forward and working in a team effort.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you still have a 9.3 unemployment rate, above the national average.

BREWER: We do. We do.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's tough. That's tough.

BREWER: It is very, very tough, but we're going to turn that around, too. I think Arizona's on the comeback. And I have a plan, and if we follow that plan, I really believe that we will probably lead the nation in recovery. I'm hoping so.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you. Love your state fair.

BREWER: Nice to see you. Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: A lot of people having a lot of fun here tonight.

BREWER: And I would be real remiss if I didn't offer you one of our very best little treats here. And I want to give you a little scorpion there so that you can indulge, maybe. It's right in the little bag.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you do with the scorpion?

BREWER: You eat it!

VAN SUSTEREN: You eat it?

BREWER: We eat scorpions for breakfast!

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) you do the first test.

BREWER: No, I only eat them for breakfast. I only eat them for breakfast.

VAN SUSTEREN: You really eat that?

BREWER: Oh, yes. Bottoms up!

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) it's impolite to eat in front of people. It's very impolite to eat in front of people, or I would. I would so -- I'd be so (INAUDIBLE) impolite. That is disgusting! That is -- you eat it!

BREWER: You've got to be tough! I eat mine for breakfast!

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't believe you!

BREWER: I eat mine for breakfast!


VAN SUSTEREN: I do not believe you.

BREWER: I eat mine for breakfast!

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you.

BREWER: Thank you, Greta.