Nightly News | September 03, 2010
>>> well, it's the video that is burning up the internet and it's at the expense of a public official . anyone who's ever had to speak in public might be able to identify with what you are about to see. for arizona 's incumbent governor, the loss of words during a televised debate with her election rivals has now become something of a political nightmare. our report from nbc's kelly o'donnell.
>> reporter: the big freeze in arizona .
>> thank you all for watching us tonight.
>> reporter: the debate blunder wednesday night that's going viral.
>> a lot of people have been saying that it was painful to watch.
>> reporter: cringing over republican governor jan brewer 's awkward silence.
>> we have done everything that we could possibly do.
>> reporter: then -- nothing. brewer went blank.
>> we have -- um -- did what was right for arizona .
>> reporter: agonizing seconds ticked by until brewer regained composure. her political recovery is just getting started.
>> i think it's kind of funny, you know. embarrassing, but funny. i'm only human. i'm only human.
>> reporter: in april, brewer rocketed into national headlines when she signed arizona 's anti- illegal immigration law. accused of stoking fear in her campaign, brewer has claimed victims found beheaded in the desert are linked to illegal immigration . she was challenged by democratic opponent terry goddard .
>> i call upon you today to say there were no beheadings. that was a false statement.
>> reporter: that led to another odd moment after the debate.
>> what about the headless bodies?
>> can you answer the question, governor?
>> reporter: she refused to answer.
>> come on, governor.
>> thank you all.
>> come on! [ groaning ]
>> reporter: later, brewer said the killings were reported on the mexican side of the border.
>> i'm not saying it was a mistake. i'm saying i apologize if people believed i had said that.
>> reporter: she had no loss for words scolding the president.
>> washington is broken, mr. president. do your job. secure our borders.
>> reporter: brewer actually has the president to thank for her job. when he picked janet napalitano, brewer moved up to governor automatically. brewer has had a 20-point lead. many believe she is still the likely winner.
>> i would imagine we'll never again see her in front of a live camera, particularly with other candidates between now and the election.
>> reporter: sure enough, brewer announced she will not debate again.