Ben Smith at Politico:
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s opening statement in last night’s debate reflects either an amazing lack of preparation, or sheer panic.
John Hudson at The Atlantic with the round-up
Chris Good at The Atlantic:
As a guy who also sometimes chokes in this fashion, I’ve gotta feel for Brewer here. Then again, maybe she just hadn’t prepared adequately.
Brewer’s main opponent, Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard, jumped on Brewer for claiming, in that stumbling start, that she balanced the budget. The state faces an estimated $700 million budget shortfall, according to an August staff presentation from the Arizona legislature’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
Jim Newell at Gawker:
Hey, Arizona immigration law haters who are looking for some schadenfreude: it’s popcorn time. Because here’s a clip of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last night giving one of the worst debate opening statements… ever? Sure, let’s go with “ever.”
Seriously, what is wrong with this woman? That is scary.
It really is bizarre, and kind of painful to watch. An opening statement is the easy part — a quick introduction, highlight a few talking points, something about getting stuff done, ask for support, and move on. It’s the part of a debate in which folks tend to memorize a short spiel so they come across as competent and set a good impression for the rest of the debate.
Brewer just had a breakdown of sorts. Worse, she seems to be referring to notes in front of her — which would seemingly tell her what to say if she forgets — but which didn’t help.
By my count, there’s a full nine seconds in which a stumped Brewer says literally nothing. That may not sound like a long time, but on the air, during a debate, it’s an eternity.
Brewer is, by the way, the sitting governor. She’s not some fringe candidate included in the debate as a courtesy — Brewer is currently the chief executive of Arizona, and has been on the campaign trail for months.
I kind of doubt this will have a huge impact on the polls — Brewer may be an unprepared right-wing dolt, but she’s the strong favorite in November — but this minute-long video will serve as a reminder for campaigns for quite a while.
Update: But wait, there’s more. When the subject turned to Brewer’s bogus claims about “beheadings,” she got even more confused.
Adam Serwer at Greg Sargent’s place:
This is pretty painful to watch. But her later reaction (flagged by Rachel Weiner) to her Democratic opponent, Terry Goddard*, who hammered her for exaggerating the extent of crime in Arizona with tales of beheadings in the desert, is even worse.
One can only imagine that Brewer dodged the question because she has no evidence to support her outlandish claims, and she knows it.