GOP lawmaker unleashes e-mail tirade at colleague - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

GOP lawmaker unleashes e-mail tirade at colleague

WASHINGTON (WFLX) - It's a clash between two of Florida's political behemoths.

In one corner, Rep. Allen West, a Plantation Republican and Tea Party darling who has developed a national profile.

And in the other corner, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Weston Democrat who is also the chair of her party's national committee.

West had already left the House floor on Tuesday when Wasserman-Schultz took the microphone.

She used it to blast West for his support of the Republican plan to cut and cap federal spending saying it would raise Medicare costs for seniors. "The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan," she said. "Unbelievable, for a member from South Florida."

West was outraged she didn't say it to his face.

He fired off an e-mail to Wasserman-Schultz and House leadership that called her "the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the House," and said she is "not a lady" and isn't "afforded due respect from him".

"I think it is important to stake my ground," West said afterwards.

Sid Dinerstein, the chair of the Palm Beach County Republican Party called Wasserman-Schultz out of line for using the House floor to criticize another member.

"If Debbie can't play by the rules, then let her get a job in the White House, she's already window-dressing for the president," said Dinerstein.

This is all happening as the two parties prepare to battle for West's congressional seat in 2012.

West is considered one of the GOP's rising stars.

One of the Democrats hoping to knock him off - former West Palm mayor Lois Frankel - moved fast to jump in to the fray.

She's angry about West's tone and comment, that Wasserman-Schultz isn't a lady.
 "It's one thing to be tough. It is one thing to be straightforward. To be sexist, or bigoted, or personally disparaging, there's no room for that," said Frankel.

But the West versus Wasserman-Schultz battle might be an early sign of the political battles ahead. "There are two very different competing philosophies up for grabs in the United States at this time," said Dinerstein.

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