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Dallas Morning News journalist Wayne Slater wrote a piece over the weekend that took at little closer look at the claims coming from Wendy Davis about her life story, which is the central component to her campaign for TX governor. It found a few important discrepancies that got a lot of people talking:
FORT WORTH — Wendy Davis has made her personal story of struggle and success a centerpiece of her campaign to become the first Democrat elected governor of Texas in almost a quarter-century.
While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography — a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement — that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising.
The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis’ life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves. In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred.
Davis was 21, not 19, when she was divorced. She lived only a few months in the family mobile home while separated from her husband before moving into an apartment with her daughter.
A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support.
In an extensive interview last week, Davis acknowledged some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her aides have said about her life.
“My language should be tighter,” she said. “I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.”
In other words, she’s saying she needs to get a little better at fudging the facts about single motherhood and paying her way through college to becoming a state senator. The Dallas Morning News story questions just how much of her “I did it all on my own while a single mother” story is true. It’s too detailed to excerpt it but you can read it and draw your own conclusions. The short version, from Breitbart.com:
In addition, as The Dallas Morning News reports, her second husband, Jeff Davis, paid for her final two years at Texas Christian University (she received an academic scholarship and a Pell Grant for her initial studies).
“It was community resources. We paid for it together,” Davis said.
The report also states that when Wendy Davis was accepted into Harvard Law School, her husband Jeff cashed in his 401(k) account and eventually took out a loan to pay for her final year there.
“I was making really good money then, well over six figures,” Jeff Davis said. “But when you’ve got someone at Harvard, you’ve got bills to pay, you’ve got two small kids. The economy itself was marginal. You do what you have to do, no big deal.”
In fact, a timeline from The Dallas Morning News shows that Davis’ husband took out a 10-year loan to pay for her Harvard law education.
And still more:
Over time, the Davises’ marriage was strained. In November 2003, Wendy Davis moved out.
Jeff Davis said that was right around the time the final payment on their Harvard Law School loan was due. “It was ironic,” he said. “I made the last payment, and it was the next day she left.”
Wendy Davis said that as a lawyer, she contributed too.
“I was a vibrant part of contributing to our family finances from the time I graduated to the time we separated in 2003,” she said. “The idea that suddenly there was this instantaneous departure after Jeff had partnered so beautifully with me in putting me through school is just absurd.”
In his initial divorce filing, Jeff Davis said the marriage had failed, citing adultery on her part and conflicts that the couple could not overcome. The final court decree makes no mention of infidelity, granting the divorce solely “on the ground of insupportability.”
Amber was 21 and in college. Dru was in ninth grade. Jeff Davis was awarded parental custody. Wendy Davis was ordered to pay $1,200 a month in child support.
“She did the right thing,” he said. “She said, ‘I think you’re right; you’ll make a good, nurturing father. While I’ve been a good mother, it’s not a good time for me right now.’”
Wendy Davis declined to discuss the circumstances or terms of the divorce.
Quite frankly, I could have done without knowing the details of Wendy Davis’ relationship and eventual divorce from her ex-husband, and seeing as I don’t know them and wasn’t in the situation, I’m not going to make a judgement call on whether or not it was the right thing to do for her to leave her children with her ex-husband after the divorce so she could ‘find herself.’ What bothers me about these details is that they are in direct conflict with the “going it alone, running against the wind, paid my way through college while single-handedly raising a family” compelling story she tells when she tours the media and campaign circuit. In contrast to the narrative she and the MSM have enabled, she had plenty of financial support – especially while at Harvard – and had someone who could take care of the kids while she found her way in the world. Not a lot of women can make that same claim. In fact, I suspect many of the people – men and women – who attended Harvard at the same time Wendy Davis did are STILL paying off their student loans because they had to work, possibly more than one job, and still come home and tend to family. Her then-husband took out a loan to pay for her Harvard education and took care of the kids while she was away, and did so even after they were divorced. This is not what Wendy Davis has told people on the trail.
If this is what Davis did, why not own up to it to begin with – get it out in the open? Apparently because the media has literally done nothing but fawn over her until recently, she assumed she could just say what she wanted and no one would question her, and as a result she could just float right into office on a cloud of golddust. But someone did end up questioning her, and wrote about it. Her response? Blame the Greg Abbott campaign. Via Politico:
Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator running for governor of Texas, swung back Monday at swirling questions about her personal life after a newspaper report suggested there were inconsistencies in the biography she’s shared on the stump.
In a statement, Davis sought to explain the discrepancies, while also signaling that her Republican opponent, Greg Abbott, was behind the growing scrutiny.
“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.”
The Abbott campaign didn’t offer a comment.
On Sunday, the author of the piece said, as part of a Twitter thread, that “in researching, I talked to no — zero — Abbott people.”
Davis generated national attention over the summer by mounting a lengthy filibuster that temporarily derailed a restrictive abortion measure. Her personal story, involving overcoming single parenthood and poverty to graduate from Harvard Law School and go on to the state Senate, has been central to her campaign.
And now it’s all falling apart. Sound familiar?
Hey, Wendy, do us all a favor – if you’re going to try and portray yourself as representative of successful, capable women across Texas – and the country, for that matter, how about in the future be honest about yourself and who you are rather than come across as just another ultra-polished and packaged politico loaded with embellishments and lies about your life story and accomplishments? For decades, “feminists” have been lecturing us about how men are supposedly such notorious BS-ers and liars, yet you’ve shown women can be just as bad as the men who do the same. In the future, how about being unique, going against the grain, striving to be a different kind of politico? In other words: WHY NOT JUST TELL THE TRUTH? Is that really asking too much, ma’am?
Related: Kathleen McKinley writes –>Wendy Davis Tells a Life Story That Doesn’t Exactly Match Reality
Flashback: The Real Wendy writes –> Wendy Davis sued her hometown newspaper (and Disney) for WHAT?