The response from the Wendy Davis campaign to the exposure of her factually-challenged campaign biography and narrative as a single mom who put herself through law school turned out to be as inconsistent as the biography itself. At first, it appeared that the Texas Democrat would take the mea culpa route and apologize for her lack of clarity:
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, who is running for governor of Texas, has admitted that some of the public details about her personal history are incomplete or inaccurate, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News.
By the end of the day, though, Davis had changed her mind. Her gubernatorial campaign went on full attack, accusing Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater of taking orders from the Greg Abbott campaign:
“We’re not surprised by Greg Abbott’s campaign attacks on the personal story of my life as a single mother who worked hard to get ahead,” Davis said in her statement. “But they won’t work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women who know the strength it takes when you’re young, alone and a mother.”
Asked by POLITICO to point to specific attacks from Abbott, the current Texas attorney general, a Davis spokeswoman responded, “We’ve had reporters independently verify these attacks are coming from Greg Abbott’s campaign.”
Have they? Have they indeed? The reporter who exposed the false narrative says that he’s not talked to anyone within the Abbott campaign — at all:
@jrotkoff Story was about Davis, not Abbott. And in researching, I talked to no – zero – Abbott people. They saw story this morn when u did
— Wayne Slater (@WayneSlater) January 19, 2014
And as for Slater being a Republican shill, that hardly holds up to scrutiny, either (via Twitchy):
The spin from Wendy Davis is that Wayne Slater, who appears regularly on MSNBC to bash Texas Republicans, is now part of Abbott’s campaign?
— Will Franklin (@WILLisms) January 20, 2014
Slater used to appear with more regularity on MSNBC; the last time Newsbusters noted one of his segments was in mid-2011. Before that, though, Slater made a number of appearances on the network on Hardball and Keith Olbermann’s Countdown, as well as on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor, NPR, NBC’s Meet the Press, and so on. Slater also co-wrote two books about Karl Rove, neither of them terribly complimentary — Bush’s Brain and The Architect: Karl Rove and the Dream of Absolute Power. Those aren’t the kind of books one writes to curry favor with the Republican Party, especially not in Texas.
In other words, the Davis campaign obviously did not do their homework before grasping at that blame-a-Republican-shill strategy. The response, more than the story itself, demonstrates just how unready the Davis campaign and Davis herself are ready for a high-profile gubernatorial fight in Texas … or anywhere else, for that matter.