Arizona governor admits she was wrong about beheadings
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she was wrong when she claimed that headless bodies were turning up in the Arizona desert as part of ...
The Associated Press
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer rose to national fame defending the state's immigration law and warning of rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, including a claim that headless bodies were turning up in the Arizona desert.
The claim has come back to haunt her after her stammering debate performance this week in which she failed to back up the statement and ignored repeated questions about it.
Brewer, a Republican, has been backtracking and trying to repair the damage done in her cringe-worthy debate performance late Wednesday against underdog challenger Terry Goddard, a Democrat.
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said Friday of the beheadings claim. "I misspoke; but you know, let me be clear, I am concerned about the border region because it continues to be reported in Mexico that there's a lot of violence going on and we don't want that going into Arizona."
She said she was referring to beheadings and other cartel-related violence in Mexico in comments she made this summer about decapitated bodies found in Arizona's southern region.
Brewer's candidacy caught a big break in April, when she signed a new state immigration law that put local police officers on the front lines of enforcing federal immigration law. At the time, Brewer's primary campaign faced serious challenges, but signing the bill cleared her path to what proved to be an easy primary win Aug. 24.
Goddard said he brought up the beheadings comments during the debate because Brewer hadn't acknowledged she was wrong.
"It's a kind of fear-mongering that has hurt our economy. It has driven jobs away," he said. "She wouldn't come off it."
Brewer apparently first referred to beheadings during a June 16 interview with Fox News, talking about "the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings and the fact that people can't feel safe in their community" in discussing controversy surrounding the immigration law.
She went further in a June 27 interview on Phoenix television station KPNX when asked about the beheadings claim.
"Oh, our law-enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert, either buried or just lying out there, that have been beheaded," Brewer said.
None of the southern Arizona coroners who handle immigrant cases have encountered headless bodies.
It's not the first time Brewer, who became governor when Democrat Janet Napolitano resigned to became secretary of the federal Department of Homeland Security, has drawn criticism for exaggerated remarks. In June, she said most illegal immigrants entering Arizona are being used to transport drugs across the border, an assertion panned by most people who study immigration.
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