PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Jan Brewer insisted Tuesday her health is fine despite what she called "outlandish and completely unsubstantiated" Internet blog posts suggesting she might not be able to serve a full four-year term.
Rumors about Brewer's health have emerged as her campaign for governor against Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard has taken a bizarre turn in recent days.
Blog posts have suggested that the 66-year-old Brewer has an unreported medical problem that could keep her from serving out her term if elected in November. Brewer responded Tuesday by declaring she is in good health.
"I am fine," Brewer told The Associated Press in an interview in her Executive Tower office. "When I made this commitment to run for governor, I made sure I am in good shape. End of story."
Meanwhile, her campaign manager responded to the rumors with a counterpunch, suggesting that Goddard is gay.
In his separate response, campaign manager Chuck Coughlin said Tuesday the "rumormongering" about Brewer's health "is about as relevant" as it would be to question Goddard's sexual orientation. Coughlin initially asserted that in an interview posted by the Arizona Guardian online news site and in a posting on his own firm's site.
Coughlin suggested that Goddard's campaign and Democratic operatives were responsible for the blog postings about Brewer's health. Goddard campaign spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer denied that the campaign had any role and she said it was "abhorrent" that Coughlin raised the question of Goddard's sexual orientation.
"He is heterosexual," L'Ecuyer said of Goddard, who is married and has a child. "I think this speaks volumes about the kind of people that Jan Brewer is willing to have around her."
Brewer said during the AP interview that raising Goddard's sexual orientation was "ridiculous" and "irrelevant" and that she had told that to Coughlin.
"Move on," she said she also told him. "I want to talk about jobs, talk about the economy. I want to talk about education."
However, she demurred when asked whether she would apologize to Goddard.
"I didn't say it. Why would I apologize if I didn't say it," she said.
Coughlin didn't back off his comments when interviewed late Tuesday by phone, saying he agreed that the orientation question was irrelevant and ridiculous. But he said raised that question because the same applies to questioning Brewer's health.
"I'm just sending them a message saying this is stupid," Coughlin said, referring to Goddard's supporters. "It's not what Arizona people care about."
Brewer, 66, was Arizona's elected secretary of state when she became governor in January 2009 when Democrat Janet Napolitano resigned to become U.S. Homeland Security secretary.
Her bid for full four-year term appeared in trouble until April, when she signed a tough new Arizona law combating illegal immigration. That boosted her popularity in the state and her conservative credentials among Republicans nationwide.
Riding high off an Aug. 24 GOP primary win, she stumbled in a debate last month against Goddard in a much-criticized performance marred by one long cringe-inducing pause.
A Behavior Research Center poll released Monday had Brewer holding an 11-point lead over Goddard in a telephone survey of 450 likely voters surveyed Oct. 1-10. That's roughly half of Brewer's lead in a BRC poll conducted nearly three months ago. The latest poll's margin of error was 4.7 percent.
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