The finger point seen 'round the world has KGUN9 viewers arguing
Jan Brewer makes a point with President Obama. Photo by Haraz N. Ghanbari for The Associated Press
Notes by: Forrest Carr, KGUN9 News Director
Nothing says "listen, bub," like a raised index finger in the face. It underscores a point, but as anyone who's ever driven Arizona's interstates can attest, it's not the worst gesture imaginable. On a rudeness scale of one to ten, under normal circumstances a pointed finger would be about a two. Three, tops.
But when the target is the president of the United States, and the jiu-jistu jointed gesticulator is a state governor already known as a feisty political adversary, circumstances are anything but normal. Wednesday's exchange in Mesa became the finger point seen 'round the world, propelling Governor Jan Brewer onto the cable TV circuit for two nights running, and sending the staff of the po'ed POTUS into spin mode trying to downplay the issue.
There is no royalty in America. Still, there is an accepted protocol for interfacing with the president. Finger gestures of any kind are, as our British cousins might put it, right out: no jabbing, pointing, or nose-picking. Simply put, when with the president, you're expected to keep that thing holstered. A wagging finger in a presidential setting is guaranteed to have tongues doing the same, and that is exactly what happened here. The reaction was electric, and immediate.
In response to the outcry, the governor explained that she didn't mean any disrespect, and besides, the president was rude to her when he walked off in mid-sentence.
One immediate effect of the controversy: sales of her book, Scorpions for Breakfast, skyrocketed. One can only imagine what kind of gestures that development might inspire among the public, but comments posted to KGUN9.com and on KGUN9's Facebook page give an idea of the range of available options.
From "Somos quien somos:" "Shame on you governor! Is that how a state executive greets the President of the United States of America? What a disgrace - you should be tarred, feathered and run out of town!"
From "txroseinaz:" "Did you see the whole video this morning on Fox News? KGUN didn't show it; they just show that particular shot and take it out of context. She was gesturing with her hands while talking, not just pointing at Obummer. He shouldn't have just walked off."
From "BarbinTucson:" "Pointing is rude, especially in someone's face and at the President no less! I am mortified she is our Governor! Has this woman no class at all? I also talk with my hands but that could NOT excuse this picture. LET'S GET HER OUT OF OFFICE!!"
From "AZPaul:" "Respect is not given no matter who you are, it is earned. Obamantion has not earned any respect from Americans given his stance on giving away our jobs to illegals.... Personally, I think she used the wrong finger."
From "Just thought:" "Jan Brewer is a much better Gov. than our last one. She actually is fighting for Arizona unlike our last Gov. He has snubbed her requests and talked DOWN to her in the past. How would you greet someone who is unfairly suing you ???? GO Jan !!!!"
From "Bobles:" "This is the United States of America in which we have the freedom to say what we want to whom we want without fear of retaliation. I didn't see this as disrespectful, I saw this as trying to make a point. Obama is the President, not God."
From "CIone:" "Wow! In a few short hours, we lose our precious Gabrielle Giffords to represent us in Washington and we have our Governor treat the President with a blatant amount of disrespect. There is a 180 degree difference between Gabby and Jan!"
From Don Scheibe (via Facebook): "Who cares?! Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. Must be a slow news day."
From "Abe L:" "How about at least one conservative post???? Obama is suing Arizona because Arizona is trying to enforce a 'federal' illegal immigration law. If Obama would do his job and stop dividing this country we all would be better off.... If she was a liberal governor talking to a conservative president you would be falling all over yourself defending her."
From "Creeping Critter:" "Didn't your mummy when you were a kid tell you that pointing at someone's face is rude and disrespectful?"
From Vanessa Arevalo Rodriguez (via Facebook): "This is making Arizona look so bad and you better believe that we're the ones getting the finger pointed at now!!"
From Barbara D Hall-Keeley (via Facebook): "Is it possible that no body from AZ has seen her speak? She has always been animated and she was trying to make a point about our borders."
From Pattie Feder (via Facebook): "ONE WORD - embarrassed."
From "stargranite:" "Our Governor is under a tremendous challenge to secure our borders & protect our citizens. I admire her for having the courage to stand up & be counted! She is a Do-Something instead of a do-nothing Governor!"
From "Papoosie:" "Again, Brewer does not fail to embarrass our state. Scorpions in the morning? More like Jack Daniels in the morning. This is what an uneducated, governor with a lack of proper upbringing looks like. UGH!"
By the way, we posted a question about the finger-point on Thursday's KGUN9.com Question of the Day. The volume of participation blew our doors off, with respondents voting overwhelmingly in favor of the governor.
What do you think? Join in: post your comments here, or on our Facebook page, which allows longer messages.