(South Florida Sun-Sentinel )
A long-standing feud between South Florida House members Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen West turned to insults Tuesday after an exchange of speeches on a debt-reduction bill.
Wasserman Schultz chastised West on the House floor for supporting a bill that would cut Medicare and other spending.
"The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries -- unbelievable from a member from South Florida," said Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat.
West, a Republican from Plantation who lives in Wasserman Schultz's district, responded with an email to her and House leaders: "Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, 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. Focus on your own congressional district!"
West said her behavior "dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign headquarters, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach."
He was referring to a demonstration by Wasserman Schultz and others outside West's campaign headquarters, claiming West showed insensitivity by writing a political column in a local biker magazine that includes pictures and articles that they said disrespected women.
Jonathan Beeton, communications director for Wasserman Schultz, responded: "I don't think that Congressman West is upset at the congresswoman, but rather with the fact that she highlighted that he and other Republicans are once again trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, children and the middle class."
The dust-up generated considerable attention because of Wasserman Schultz's role as chair of the Democratic National Committee and West's prominence in the new "tea party" crop of freshman Republican lawmakers.