UPDATE Jan. 24, 2014: Project Veritas uploaded Friday a more complete version of its undercover footage:
A video released Thursday by a conservative activist group shows what appears to be volunteers for Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis mocking Republican contender Greg Abbott for being a paraplegic.
“I'm wondering how this is going to work out, because he's in a wheelchair and most of the slogans are ‘Stand With Wendy,’” a Davis supporter who is associated with Battleground Texas, an activist group comprised mostly of leftover Obama campaign volunteers, can be heard saying in a highly-edited video released by Project Veritas.
“What I think is interesting is he's in a wheelchair but he has no sympathy for anyone or any way. He may have a personality disorder,” another volunteer added.
The video also captures questionable comments made by pro-Davis volunteers during an Austin Democratic group meeting.
“He doesn't speak well, he isn't good looking, he doesn't have a good personality, and he's in a wheelchair [emphasis added],” a Davis supporter said at the meeting.
Soon after the video was released Thursday, Bo Delp, Davis' communications director, attacked Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe for smearing the Democratic state senator with one of his "trademark deceptive videos."
"O’Keefe is trying to create the impression that Wendy Davis attended this meeting and condones the language in this video," Phillips said.
Davis, however, lost no time distancing herself from the video and condemned the remarks as “abhorrent.”
"Greg Abbott has persevered through great personal challenge to raise a family, have a productive career, and for that he deserves our respect," she said in a prepared statement.
Now, it’s important to note that the above video presents only a quick glimpse into what was said about Abbott. That is, we aren’t getting the full context of those conversations.
“This is a conversation that anyone strategizing to elect Davis was going to have, just as the Abbott campaign was going to strategize (hopefully without cameras in the room) about how to run against a woman without making gaffes,” Slate’s Dave Weigel suggests. “’Stand With [name of candidate]’ is a common frame, used by Marco Rubio -- only natural, isn't it, to wonder if it looks cruel when the opponent can't walk?”
This is certainly a point worth considering.
Maybe the remarks captured on tape were cruel jokes made at Abbott’s expense. Maybe they weren’t. In any case, Davis’ campaign is already in trouble thanks to recent revelations about her real past -- and this Project Veritas video isn’t going to do her any favors.
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