In a sign of the hostile atmosphere in Congress, two of its most partisan figures, Broward representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen West, continued a personal feud Wednesday that overshadowed the serious debate over how to get the nation out of debt.
The spat played out on national television after having erupted the day before when West sent an email calling Wasserman Schultz “vile” and “despicable” after she said on the House floor that a Republican budget-cutting plan ruined Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The dispute isn’t all about policy. It’s rooted in personal Broward County politics dating back to Wasserman Schultz’s 2010 claim that West supports denigrating women because he was a columnist for a racy South Florida biker mag. West said those remarks were false and offensive.
“She’s not a victim,” West, R-Plantation, said on Republican-leaning Fox News Wednesday morning. “She’s been attacking Allen West for quite some time. And I finally had to let her know: Enough’s enough.”
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Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman from Weston, appeared later on Democrat-leaning MSNBC and repeated her talking points about the Republican plan.
“It’s not really surprising that he would crack under the pressure of having to defend that,” she said. “If he feels that concerned and gets that churned up over having to defend his position then he probably should reconsider his position.”
The clear winner: The Washington outrage machine that exploits controversies for fundraising opportunities and political points.
West’s two potential Democratic challengers, Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel, issued fundraising pitches that bashed the hot-tempered tea-party favorite. Emily’s List, the abortion-rights group, also sought to bank financial support. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., used her campaign website to drum up support for protecting Medicare and Social Security.
West later issued an email asking for $25 contributions.
“It’s not a coincidence that she is the Chairwoman of the DNC and that the Democrats are making me target #1 for defeat,” said West’s fundraising letter that said she “attacked me personally for supporting the legislation.”
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