Phoenix, AZ -- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) was caught on tape Wednesday evening at a Republican event in Tucson calling Arizona's capitol "a hell hole." This statement comes after months of rancorous budget battles that have pitted Brewer's office against both the leadership of her own party and the Democrats.
Nicknamed "the accidental governor," Brewer has had a rocky year since automatically ascended from Secretary of State to the State House when former Governor Janet Napolitano (D) left for Washington, DC to become the nation's Secretary of Homeland Security. At a time when state governments across the country were facing record budget crises, Brewer was dealt the largest per-capita state budget deficit in the nation at her swearing in.
Her "hell hole" quip also came within hours of a Public Policy Polling poll (pdf) that showed the likely 2010 Democratic candidate, Terry Goddard, has a higher approval rating - even among Republicans - than Brewer. Another poll had been released the day before by the Behavior Research Center that showed Brewer's approval rating had dropped from only 28 points in May to an even lower 22 points.
Brewer has become so unpopular, even within her own party, that even former Arizona Governor Fife Symington (R) has discussed running in against her in the 2010 primary. Symington resigned from the Arizona governor's office in 1997 after being convicted of fraud.
In Tuscon Wednesday night, Brewer told the Pima County Republican Women that "it is a great relief, to say the least, to get out of that hell hole in Phoenix and be down here in Tucson."
Brewer's Communications Director went into crisis-management mode immediately, telling reporters that Brewer was referring to the "hellish budget hole" and not the capital city of Phoenix.
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