Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Fact-checking the West-Wasserman Schultz feud

Allen West and Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Allen West and Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Most of the she-said, he-said, back-and-forth between South Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen West has been good for political theater but bad for fact-checkers.

If you missed it, Wasserman Schultz -- a Democrat -- criticized West -- a Republican -- this week over his support for a plan to sharply reduce federal spending and require a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. In a speech Tuesday on the floor of the U.S. House, Wasserman Schultz said the West-backed GOP plan would raise costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and that it was "unbelievable" for West to support it because he represents so many South Florida seniors.

West responded via e-mail. "Look Debbie ... you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. 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."

See? Not a lot to check in either statement.

But as the debate ballooned Wednesday and Thursday, both Wasserman Schultz and West went to cable TV to make their case.

And in the process, they provided fodder for us fact-checkers.

Wasserman Schultz, on CNN, said that West is actually "a constituent of mine."

And on Fox News, West made a claim that Florida Democrats "put my Social Security number and my wife's Employment Identification Number in a mail piece."

We checked both.