An Exercise in Fantasy: Paul Weber's AP Story on Texas Davis-Abbott Debate

This morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis's awful performance in Friday's debate with Republican aspirant Greg Abbott was predictably ignored by the Politico, the New York Times, and the Associated Press's national site.

The AP did have a story it apparently limited to distribution within Texas. As I also noted this morning, though it's probably not the case, it would not surprise anyone if we learned the wire service's Paul Weber wrote his story in advance and stayed in his hotel room during the event. That's because his Saturday dispatch was so divorced from reality that it's hard to imagine that he could really have written it based on what he and other viewers actually saw.

As will be seen shortly, Weber even threw in a sentence which made him look more like a Davis fanboy or groupie than a real reporter (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

Davis assertive, Abbott plays it safe in first debate

Democrat Wendy Davis came out swinging against Republican Greg Abbott over classroom dollars and women in the first debate of the Texas governor’s race Friday night, but uncomfortably skirted a question about her support for President Barack Obama.

Still, no real fireworks livened up a mostly dry gubernatorial debate in the Rio Grande Valley [1] — a backdrop that made border security a major topic.

Davis needs a spark with fewer than six weeks until Election Day, and the underdog made eye contact with the Texas attorney general [2] to question what she called his “dumb” defense in court of $5.4 billion in public school cuts.

But Abbott didn’t ruffle. He played it safe in this final stretch of a costly race that he’s led from the start, content to let Davis’ attacks slide and not risk any gaffes. Nonetheless, he still managed to put Davis in a tough spot — but with a question, not any answer. [3]

“Do you regret voting for Barack Obama?” Abbott asked.

Davis seemed to laugh nervously and didn’t answer. At other times, her digs came off more rehearsed than spontaneous.

... On the major Texas school finance lawsuit that ended with a state judge ruling the deep cuts unconstitutional, Davis pressed Abbott on why he won’t drop an appeal. [4]

“That’s not liberal, that’s not conservative, it’s just dumb,” Davis said. Abbott said he’s bound by his office to continue to fight. [5]

... A memoir Davis recently published revealed an abortion she had in the 1990s for medical reasons, and on the campaign trail, she has better harnessed the tenacity that first made her famous during her nearly 13-hour filibuster last year. [6]


[1] —No real fireworks, eh? How about, as seen in the video which was incorporated into this morning's post, a candidate talking out of order and over a moderator's repeated attempts to stop her for a full 15 seconds? Davis did this after Abbott accurately pointed out that he can't just walk away from defending the state against a school funding lawsuit because a bill Davis voted for prevents him from doing so.

[2] — Oh my gosh, Wendy Davis made eye contact with her male opponent and lived to talk about it. What courage. (/sarcasm)

[3] — Speaking of courage, or complete lack thereof, why would Wendy Davis not tell Texans whether she regrets supporting Barack Obama? She answered the question the very next day ("No, I don't regret it") — once voters who have no idea what a lockstep Democrat she is were no longer watching.

[4] — The lawsuit has not "ended." The verdict is being appealed. Make some sense, Paul.

[5] — Ah yes, the old "Republicans say" trick. Abbott is "bound by his office to continue to fight" because his office must follow the law Wendy Davis supported. That's a fact; it is not a matter of what "Abbott says." The Lone Star State's Attorney General doesn't get to pick and choose laws he likes and those he can unilaterally defy.

[6] — Well glory be, Paul Weber hearts the "famous" Wendy Davis, so full of "tenacity" because of that supposedly heroic filibuster which draw rave reviews from the East Coast establishment press — and cemented her status as a proabortion radical. The two of them apparently need to get a room.

It's hard to believe that Weber would have been silent about misbehavior by Abbott. But, as seen above, he completely ignored Davis's petulant, angry, out-of-order outburst, and pretended that Abbott has powers as Attorney General which he does not possess. His report is an embarrassment of the first order.

Cross-posted at

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