Controversial political commentator Ann Coulter appeared on Sean Hannity’s self-titled Fox News channel talk show Monday night to sound off on Texas Senator Wendy Davis.
Coulter, who appears frequently on Fox News, jumped at the chance to weigh in on the maelstrom that has surrounded Davis since The Dallas Morning News broke a story suggesting that key facts in Davis’ presentation of her life story may not be entirely accurate. Coulter told Hannity: “This is all I want to talk about all year.”
According to Wayne Slater, Davis has made her personal rags to riches story a “centerpiece” of her campaign to become governor of Texas. Davis’ political team is talking up the story of how she overcame great hardship to go from a divorced teenage single mother living in a trailer to Harvard graduate and key player in Texas politics.
Slater reveals that Davis was 21 – not 19 – when she divorced.
It turns out that she actually lived only a few months in her family’s trailer before she and her daughter got their own apartment.
And as far as working her way through college? Well, Davis married attorney Jeff Davis, 13 years her senior, during her undergraduate years at Texas Christian University and had another daughter with him. Her husband funded her last two years at TCU and her time at Harvard Law School. He also kept the children with him in Texas while Davis was attending school in Boston.
The other side has reached a new low – attacking my family, my education and playing politics with something that is deeply personal.
— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) January 21, 2014
Coulter didn’t hesitate to jump into the fray:
“The connotation is that you were supporting a family and raising your kids. She was neither supporting her family nor raising her kids. She married a sugar daddy whom she asked to meet. He supported her, he raised the kids while she went to Harvard law school. I mean, it said that Dallas Morning News article, it’s the greatest quote I’ve ever seen. He says, I quote, “It’s ironic the day after I paid the last –”
Hannity finished her statement: “I made the last payment and it was the next day she left.”
Jeff Davis has defended his ex-wife, however: “A lot of what she says is true,” he said. “When she was 21, it became a little easier for her. The first 21 years were about working one, two and three jobs, trying to get through, raising a kid, driving an old Toyota pickup truck that was the smallest you could find.”
“She got a break,” Jeff Davis said. “Good things happen, opportunities open up. You take them; you get lucky. That’s a better narrative than what they’re trying to paint.”
On the fact that Davis gave her ex-husband parental custody of their children, he had this to say: “She did the right thing … 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.’”
Like so many Texans, I'm proud of where I came from and proud of what I've been able to achieve through hard work and perseverance. (4/4)
— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) January 20, 2014
Unlike Jeff Davis, Coulter jumped at the chance to argue that Senator Davis’ upbringing wasn’t all that “hard-luck”, saying it would have been “amazing if were true … that she was raised by a single mother, started working at 14 to support her struggling family. Then she became a single mother herself, lived in a trailer park, and through her pluck and determination ends up in Harvard Law School. No. She basically came from middle class family. Her father ran a dinner theater. That’s not working class. She got married young and had a child young and got divorced at 21. The age between 19 and 21 I don’t think makes a big difference, but that isn’t the hard-luck story.”
But Davis says her father’s dinner theater didn’t really make any money, an assertion that many entrepreneurs would find easy to believe: “While he lived that passion, he never made money again and was never able to comply with the terms of my parents’ divorce,” she said. “What it meant for us financially is that things … completely turned upside down, and it was a real struggle. My brothers and I went to work young — and it was out of necessity, not about wanting to have a little bit of spending money.”
Responding to the Dallas Morning News article, Davis said “My language should be tighter … I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.”
She also posted an open letter on her blog:
Mine is a story about a teenage single mother who struggled to keep her young family afloat. It’s a story about a young woman who was given a precious opportunity to work her way up in the world. It’s a story about resiliency, and sacrifice, and perseverance.
And you’re damn right it’s a true story.
Throughout this campaign, I’ve shared that story – not because it’s unique, but because it isn’t.
The story of my life is also the story of millions of single mothers who feel alone in the world, millions of young dreamers searching for their chance to become something more than what they were born into, millions of families all across Texas who would sacrifice everything to give their children a better future.
… I’m not afraid of their false attacks – I developed thick skin long before anyone knew my name.
… No false attack can take away my story. And no sleazy political trick will stop me from giving voice to yours.
Your stories are why I’m running for Governor. And together, I know we’ll make sure that the Texas we leave to our children is a place where every young mother can build a better life for her child. . . where every family can work their way up the economic ladder. . . where every Texan can achieve their dreams and live out their own success story.
Image via Wikimedia Commons