West (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Both parties wasted little time in squeezing a few greenbacks out of the very public argument between Florida Republican Rep. Allen West and his home-state Democratic colleague Debbie Wasserman Shultz this week.
West's team struck first with a note to supporters that showcased the e-mail he sent to Wasserman Shultz that called her "the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives." West, who carbon copied House leaders from both parties on the email, was responding to comments Wasserman Shultz made on the House floor assailing West (though not by name) for his support of the Republican plan to overhaul Medicare.
"It's not a coincidence that she is the Chairwoman of the [Democratic National Committee] and that the Democrats are making me target #1 for defeat," the fundraising message read. "She's an attack dog for the liberal, progressive wing of the Democratic Party -- plain and simple. ... Please make a donation of $25 or more at my website right now."
Sensing an opportunity, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee blasted out its own fundraising email out to supporters.
"Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of partisan tantrum we're used to from House Republicans as they push our economy to the brink of disaster while pandering to their Tea Party base," wrote DCCC Chairman Steve Israel.
Five female Democratic House members also jumped into the fray Wednesday, with a letter to Republican House leaders claiming that West's comments had a "clearly sexist tone." Emily's List, a group that raises money to elect women to Congress, is circulating a petition urging West to apologize, saying his comments were a part of the "Republican war on women."
But wait, it gets better.
In an interview with Huffington Post reporter Jen Bendery Wednesday, West said that he had "apologized" and that was the end of it. But when the outlet published the story, West's spokesman said that reports of his apology were "absolutely false."
"The Congressman is waiting on an apology from the Congresswoman," said West spokesman Angela Sachitano.
West kept the spat going as late as Thursday morning, telling a group at the National Republican Congressional Committee that he was just sick of fending off attacks from Wasserman Schultz.
"There's a history of personal attacks by her against me. I'd had enough and let her know how unprofessional it was," West said, according to a person in the room. "I emailed her and CC'd Boehner, Cantor, and Pelosi. Wasserman Schultz decided to make it public. So there you go."
Don't expect this to die out anytime soon. Especially if the money keeps pouring in.
- Democratic National Committee
- Florida Republican Rep. Allen West