Jan Brewer, the Republican governor of Arizona, appeared to suffer a case of nerves as she delivered her opening statement in a debate against her challengers, including Democrat Terry Goddard. The clip of Brewer struggling to find the words summing up her accomplishments as Arizona's interim governor was re-broadcast as news on several local television outlets and is fast making the rounds on the Internet. Watch:
Aside from the loss for words caused by what Politico's Ben Smith termed "either an amazing lack of preparation or sheer panic," Brewer gave her opponent in the debate a major opening by claiming that she had balanced the state's budget. As The Atlantic's Chris Good noted, Arizona faces a budget shortfall of $700 million.
Later in the debate, Goddard brought up Brewer's contention that, in a sure sign of escalating drug violence with neighboring Mexico, Arizona police had found headless bodies in the desert.
"You need to stop saying things that are untrue," Goddard said, according to AZCentral.com, "that defame our state, like the beheadings in the desert."
Brewer recovered from her initial performance, but immediately after the debate, reporters pressed the governor on the topic of the alleged beheadings, and Brewer provided audiences with what may prove to be a second viral video of the night.
Brewer became the governor of Arizona in 2009, after her predecessor, Janet Napolitano, was tapped by President Barack Obama to become the Secretary of Homeland Security. Brewer was the secretary of state at that time and assumed the governorship as a result of Arizona's line of succession.
On the bright side for Brewer, she went in to Wednesday night's debate with a healthy 19-point lead according to Rasmussen, and a substantial majority of Arizonans supports SB 1070, the illegal immigration law that is being contested in the nation's court system.