Jan Brewer Struggles Through Opening Statement

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Ben Smith catches Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's opening statement at last night's gubernatorial debate, and it is a doozy. Brewer sort of chokes, and can't find words:





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.

Brewer is expected to walk away with the race: Rasmussen shows her leading Goddard by 19 percentage points.

This debate stumble, however, is the kind of thing that people notice. Phoenix's NBC 12 led with Brewer's stumble in its nightly news story on the debate--"a stumble, during her opening remarks, her main challenger Attorney General Terry Goddard on the attack"--and it's the only televised debate before the November election. 

Most of the debate focused on immigration and the economy; see the Arizona Republic's story here.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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