Today’s Houston Chronicle posted a story about Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Ms. Davis seems to have forgotten some of the details of her life story. The problem with that is that in the age of the internet fact-checking is very easy for anyone who takes the time to do it.
When she did her filibuster for abortion, Ms. Davis claimed to have been a struggling divorced teenage mother poverty-stricken and living in a trailer. Actually, she was 21 when she divorced and lived in a trailer only for a few months. She remarried and her husband paid for her education. Curiously enough, they were divorced shortly after the final bill for her law degree was paid.
The article reports:
“My language should be tighter,” she told the Morning News. “I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.”
In a statement released to the media Monday, Davis said that “the truth is that at age 19, I was a teenage mother living alone with my daughter in a trailer and struggling to keep us afloat on my way to a divorce.” She also clarified that she didn’t officially file for divorce until age 20 and that it wasn’t finalized until the following year.
Does it matter? I am sure no one cares exactly how old she was when she got her first divorce or about the details of her personal life, but were the facts altered in order to create a specific image? I understand that politics is about image and that the truth is often stretched. However, this is not simply a stretch–this is misleading.
In the end, the voters will make the decision, and since Texas is historically a red state, even without this deception exposed, Ms. Davis is not the favored candidate. But hopefully, her experience should remind candidates that it pays to get the facts right–especially about your own biography.