A liberal op-ed columnist on Candidate Barbie's visit to South Texas last week:
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ two-day stop in the Rio Grande Valley this week should have been a carefully choreographed affair during which the notable state senator from Fort Worth gathered support in this Democratically rich, yet predominantly pro-life, Hispanic and Catholic region.
However, at least one of her appearances here was plagued with missteps, gaffes and goofs by the candidate and her campaign. And it has me questioning whether Davis is really ready for prime time.
From the poor choice of venue to her disappointing remarks and even her handlers, the event reeked of amateurism. It certainly wasn’t worthy of the leading Democratic contender nor should it be representative of how she runs her campaign if she is to have any hope of defeating outspoken, well-financed Republican candidate Attorney General Greg Abbott in November 2014.
I say this with all sincerity and with sadness. Because I want to believe that Davis could win and be our next governor. But from what I saw Wednesday night, I don’t believe it in my heart — at least not unless she makes serious campaign changes.
Rather than hold the Pharr event, which was open to the public, inside the nicely decorated and air conditioned Poncho’s restaurant, we were trotted out back beneath a palapa (large thatch hutch) that smelled stuffy and moldy amidst the evening’s rain. It had uneven floors and was poorly lit. And rather than a crowd of curious voters that I expected to find, there were numerous plastic tables manned by local volunteer phone bank callers who were admitted into the venue in exchange for stumping for Davis — on their own cellphones — for two hours prior to her arrival. They read their spiel from a typed “recruitment script” written in English and Spanish and introduced themselves on behalf of “a new grassroots Democratic organization,” Battleground Texas.
It was embarrassing to watch as a campaign staffer prematurely announced Davis’ arrival and urged everyone to stand up and chant, which they did for several minutes until it was obvious that Davis wasn’t there. “I thought she was here,” a worker mused into the microphone to the quizzical and confused glances from the crowd of 60 or so. In retrospect, it was a harbinger of what was to come (or not) and representative of the disorganization and confusion that is apparently plaguing this fledgling month-old campaign.
No matter how it was phrased, it was clear Davis would not say "abortion" and would steer the subject back to education at every turn.
And that’s probably why I was shocked and disappointed when her press aide, Acuña, called and woke me at 11:30 p.m. that night asking that The Monitor retract a headline on an online article that referenced Davis’ “pro-life” position. She then tried to backpedal and said her comments weren’t for publication, although they were made during a public media briefing. After the media briefing, Acuña did speak with some journalists on background but that was not the case when she jumped in during the open media conference.
Read the whole thing here.
Over the past six weeks, Cahnman's Musings has done substantial reconnaissance work, which we haven't documented on this blog, on Battleground Texas and the Barbie Campaign; this column, written by a friendly source, is consistent with what we found.