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Jan Brewer Starts Badly, Finishes Worse, In Last Night's Arizona Gubernatorial Debate (VIDEO)

First Posted: 09/02/10 01:15 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:30 PM ET

Last night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer got down to debatin' with her opponent, Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard, and Ben Smith has video of Brewer's opening statement which could charitably be called a "complete and utter disaster." Brewer's inability to, you know -- introduce herself, thank the debate sponsors, and welcome viewers at home -- hit a snag when her train of thought derailed, leaving dead-air gaps that rival any of the ones on the Arizona-Mexico border.

WATCH:


It's like she forgot her book report was due or something! After the debate, things didn't get any better, after a reporter asked her why she wouldn't recant some insane claims she'd previously made about "beheadings in the desert," Brewer responded by pretending the question wasn't even asked. Then, as every single reporter in the room piled on, she opted to flee, back the way she'd come. [H/T: Tucson Citizen]

WATCH:


Does Jan Brewer, in her opening statement, qualify as a "headless body?"

UPDATE: Great research and insight from Brad Phillips at Mr. Media Training, who pulls out a similar moment from the not-too-distant past:

Ms. Brewer's gaffe is reminscent of one made by Jeanine Pirro, a candidate who briefly ran for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat in 2005. From New York Magazine:
Her most humiliating moment came right at the beginning, during her announcement: the now-famous 32 seconds of silence when she tried to find a misplaced page in her speech. It was the kind of horrifying who-am-I-and-why-am-I-here mishap that anyone who speaks in public has nightmares about. Suddenly, Pirro became a punch line.

Will Gov. Brewer become a punch line now? Yes, at least for a few days. The bigger question is whether it will irrevocably damage her political career (as it did for Ms. Pirro), or whether she will be able to recover. She can start helping her chances by immediately displaying a sense of humor about the gaffe.

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]

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