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The Nation

April 20, 2011

Ariz. governor's vetoes of GOP bills lift eyebrows

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoes of a half-dozen bills sponsored by fellow Republicans are raising eyebrows, with some conservatives questioning whether she is still one of them.

Never mind that she has signed more than 200 other bills from the GOP-led Legislature.

They wanted her to OK bills on school choice and religious rights, among others, as well as one that would have made the state the first to require presidential candidates to prove their natural born citizenship to get on the ballot.

That last one has become a pet cause to some conservatives who believe that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore ineligible to hold the nation's highest office.

It was too much even for Brewer, a Republican who last year became the public face of the state's controversial immigration law and used it to help her win election.

The so-called birther bill was a "huge distraction" that would have tarnished the state's reputation and hindered efforts to turn around the state's ailing economy, she told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

"From my perspective, knowing what I believe the Constitution says and the information that I had, that it would be something that wouldn't reflect well on our state," she said.

Brewer said she based her sign-or-veto decisions on a standard of what's right for the state.

One example was her veto of a bill that would have allowed guns on college campuses.

Brewer, who in the past two years signed major bills championed by gun-rights advocates, said in her veto letter that the bill was poorly written and might have been interpreted to also apply to K-12 schools.

A school-choice bill and two tax-cut measures were vetoed because the price tags would have undermined the cash-short state's just-approved budget, she said.

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