Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at a loss for words in first debate

Holly Bailey
September 2, 2010

It's a politician's worst nightmare: Drawing a complete blank in a high-profile debate.

That's what happened to Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer, who lost her train of thought during her opening statement during her first televised debate with her Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Brewer was in the middle of talking up her record in office. "We have done everything that we could possibly do," Brewer said, as she suddenly seemed at loss for words."We have, uh, did what was right for Arizona."

For several cringe-inducing seconds, she smiled and laughed as she struggled to come up with something to say. Here's the video:

"My opening was not my finest hour," Brewer told Phoenix's KTAR radio Thursday. "It was the longest 16 seconds of my life. But I'm human, I'm human."

[Rewind: More stinging political gaffes ]

The stumble gave some pundits pause in part because Brewer -- who is getting national attention for her push for illegal immigration reform in her state  -- is no stranger to controversy or primetime TV. As Politico's David Catanese observed, it was "a surprising performance for someone who has made repeated rounds on the national cable talk show circuit and has appeared mostly at ease during the give-and-take sessions."

(Photo of Brewer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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