Wendy Davis defends her life story at Austin event

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 11:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 11:42 PM

Responding to charges that she’s a "golddigger" who neglected her children, Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis fired back Tuesday night.

"I draw the line at lying about my family," the gubernatorial candidate told a cheering crowd at a Travis County Democratic fundraiser. "For those who mangled my story, know this: I never gave up custody of my children; never lost custody of my children."

Davis's critics have seized on reports that her ex-husband, Jeff Davis, cashed in savings to put her through Harvard Law School before their divorce, and that she put personal ambition above child-rearing.

On Tuesday, her two daughters released letters defending their mom.

"I have been reading and hearing so many untrue things about my mom, and I want to set the record straight," wrote Dru Davis. "She was and is an amazing mother and has been the greatest role model I could imagine."

Amber Davis tearfully introduced her mother to the crowd Tuesday night, calling the senator "my role model” and "the best mother in the world."

Davis’ rise from poverty and single parenthood is her campaign narrative of empowerment.

"Pulled herself up from poverty story, which is true," said Fort Worth Star-Telegram political writer Bud Kennedy. "But they've left out some of the details of that story."

Kennedy said the Davis campaign could have told her story better from the start.

"The problem with this whole campaign is that it reads like a movie script and not a biography with details," he said.

In Austin, Wendy Davis sought to turn the episode into a fundraising opportunity. According to campaign finance reports, Republican State Attorney General Greg Abbott, who also has his eyes on the Governor's Mansion, has more than twice as much campaign cash on hand, about $27 million.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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