U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen West exchanged a heated war of words

Rhetorical bombs going back and forth

U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and Allen West, R-Plantation, were in a heated war of words Tuesday evening with rhetorical bombs going back and forth in the U.S. Capitol.

It started when the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon was debating a Republican move on the federal budget called "cut, cap and balance," something Democrats derided as "duck, dodge and dismantle."

Wasserman Schultz spoke in opposition to the move – and singled out her Broward colleague, West.

(Not by name; congressional protocol requires an element of public politeness. But there's no love lost between the two. She's chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. He's a darling of the tea party movement.)

Wasserman Schultz blasted cut, cap as "yet another thinly veiled attempt by our colleagues across the aisle to end Medicare as we know it" while retaining tax breaks for millionaires.

The comment aimed at West: "Incredulously, the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable for a member from South Florida."

Then the responses and responses to the responses started burning up e-mail.

West began by sending an e-mail to Wasserman Schultz, along with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with the subject line: "Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz."

Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.

You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!


Next came a response from Wasserman Schultz' communications director, Jonathan Beeton:

"I don't think that Congressman West is upset at the Congresswoman, but rather with the fact that she highlighted that he and other Republicans are once again trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children and the middle class. As someone who lives in Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz's Congressional district, Congressman West knows that we have hundreds of thousands of seniors in South Florida who have paid into Medicare throughout their lives and now rely on this program to keep them healthy and active."

Then a statement sent out by West's communications director, Angela Sachitano:

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz today took another cowardly cheap shot at Congressman West conveniently after he had just left the House floor speaking on the Cut, Cap and Balance bill.

Congressman West contacted Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz directly, as well as bipartisan House leadership to express his concern with her comments and the low level she has chosen to stoop to attack Congressman West.

The Congresswoman's actions were unprofessional and cowardly.

The constituents in Florida see Congressman West as a true leader and a man of principle while Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz is once again viewed as politics as usual, and her true character sadly shown today."

The political parties are getting involved as well.

The state Democratic Party chairman, Rod Smith, called on West to apologize for his "angry tirade."

And the Florida Federation of Republican Women urged people to e-mail thank you cards to West for taking on Wasserman Schultz.

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