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Wendy Davis Again Defends Wheelchair Ad

Texas Democrat says the ad is about her opponent's “hypocrisy” on lawsuit reforms, not his disability
Wendy Davis
Texas democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis presents her new education policy during a stop at Palo Alto College, on Aug. 26, in San Antonio.Eric Gay / AP

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis on Tuesday continued to defend an ad that highlights opponent Greg Abbott’s confinement to a wheelchair, saying the commercial is about his “hypocrisy” on lawsuit reforms and insisting that the ad is “absolutely not” a personal attack.

“This ad really is about one thing and one thing only, and it is the fact that Greg Abbott was on the receiving end of a tragic accident and he was able to receive justice for himself .. and since then, in his entire public service career, he has been working to kick that ladder down and deny that same opportunity for justice to other people,” the Democrat said on Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC.

Davis has been ripped by critics for airing the spot, which accuses Republican Greg Abbott of siding against accident victims during his tenure as Texas Attorney General despite being awarded $10 million in a settlement after being hit by a tree and paralyzed in 1984. The Abbott campaign has called the ad “desperate and despicable.”

It’s not the claim itself that’s drawn the most dramatic outcry, but rather the ad’s lingering images on an empty wheelchair, which many observers say has the effect of underscoring his disability.

Davis maintained that she’s heard from “voters who believe it’s outrageous that he has engaged in this hypocrisy and who are now informed about who he is, asking to be their governor, who it is that he’s been fighting for and will continue to fight for.”

“The important thing about this ad is that voters now see Greg Abbott for who he is,” she said.