No one has turned up any decapitated corpses buried in Arizona as of yet, but some of the Republican governor's toughest critics are joking that she lost her head during a debate televised on Wednesday night.
Gov. Janet Brewer stumbled during her opening statement of a televised debate with political opponents and refused to answer reporters questions about "headless bodies" afterward.
"Brewer, who has gained national notoriety for signing into law the country's toughest provisions for illegal immigrants, awkwardly paused twice during the opening statement of the Clean Elections Debate broadcast on the state's PBS affiliate," Politico reports.
"I have ... done so much and I just cannot believe that we have changed everything since I've become your governor in the last 600 days. Arizona has been brought back from its abyss," Brewer said, after appearing to lose her train of thought.
Then, after saying, "We have cut the budget, we have balanced the budget and we are moving forward. We have done everything that we could possibly do," the governor paused for 10 seconds â€” an eternity in a live televised debate â€” before looking down at her notes.
"We have ... did what was right for Arizona. I will tell you that we have really did the best that anyone could do," she said, visibly flustered.
One blogger found her failure to articulate "cringe inducing" and commented, "No wonder our state is such as messâ€¦"
Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post adds, "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."
A video on YouTube suggests Brewer was about to say "behead" instead of "become" and adds crickets during her moment of silence.
During the debate, she sparred with Democratic opponent Terry Goddard over illegal immigration and the state's economic troubles.
"Brewer repeated her contention that the unions that support Democrats like Goddard are creating problems by urging people to boycott Arizona," the East Valley Tribune reports.
But Goddard shot back that far more economic damage is done by comments Brewer has made, both in local and national media, about the violent crime caused by illegal immigration and specifically that headless bodies are being found in the desert.
"Those are false statements,'' he said.
"They cause people to think that Arizona is a dangerous place,'' he continued. And they don't come here and they don't invest here because our governor said such negative things about our state.''
Brewer sidestepped the accusation she lied about the headless bodies, responding with, "I will call you out. Maybe you can talk to your union friends about stopping the boycott."
In July, Brewer stated that law enforcement had discovered numerous bodies near the Mexico border that had been decapitated during an interview on Fox News.
But the county coroner said there was no evidence of any beheadings.
After the debate, a group of reporters began questioning the Arizona governor over her refusal to address Goddard's accusation.
"Governor why wouldn't you recant the comment you made about the beheadings in the desert?" a reporter asked Brewer.
"Well, this was an interesting evening. You saw a complete display of the difference between myself and Terry Goddard," Brewer responded.
"Maybe people aren't coming here because you're making comments about headless bodies?" Brewer was asked a second time.
"The big thing that didn't happen tonight is that Terry Goddard never gave us a plan. Terry Goddard has never had a plan. If he has, he hasn't shared it," she responded, again dodging the question.
"What about the headless bodies?" a reporter asked Brewer for the third time.
"Can you answer the question, Governor?" another reporter followed.
"Answer the question," yet another demanded. "Why won't you recant that? Do you still believe it?"
"Okay, thank you all," Brewer said as she turned at left the room.
Video of Brewer's opening statement can be viewed below.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/xUPKKbmWMZ8?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
Below is video of Brewer being questioned by a group of reporters after the debate.