Fox News host Greta Van Susteren suggested that “Stand With Wendy” -- a campaign slogan affiliated with state senator Wendy Davis' (D-TX) gubernatorial campaign in Texas -- was “code” language being used to ridicule her disabled opponent, Greg Abbott (R-TX). Van Susteren all but ignored the origins of the slogan, which was popularized after Davis' now-famous filibuster in the Texas legislature weeks before her opponent entered the race.
On the January 27 edition of Fox News' On The Record, Van Susteren invited gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott to talk about the race against Davis. During the segment Van Susteren expressed concern that “websites associated with” the Davis campaign were employing language about standing with Wendy in order to mock Abbott, who has used a wheelchair since he was partially paralyzed by a falling tree many years ago.
“I think that's code, 'standing up,' said Van Susteren. ” I actually think if I were running against someone who was in a wheel chair, the last -- I would be mortified if the word 'standing' appeared in any of my literature, if only on the off chance that I might hurt someone who's in a wheel chair or say something to people who are disabled. And I don't see that she's ever disavowed it." Van Susteren acknowledged Davis' filibuster, but said she finds it “too coincidental” and recommended Davis apologize for the slogan, “which may have another meaning.”
“Stand with Wendy” existed before Abbott announced his candidacy on July 14, 2013. The slogan became popular in June 2013 after Davis engaged in a filibuster against a bill that would place draconian restrictionson women's health clinics in Texas -- an effort that received national news coverage. NPR noted that standing was central to the Davis' 11 hour filibuster due to “quirky” rules prohibiting the leaning on a desk or the use of a chair during the filibuster:
The quirky filibuster rules in Texas made Davis' attempt both fascinating and perilous. In Texas, lawmakers aren't allowed to lean on a desk or chair during a filibuster and everything discussed while speaking continuously must be germane -- you can't talk about topics unrelated to the bill. Anything deemed not germane is subject to a point of order, and Davis went up against a three-strikes-you're-out-rule on those points. In the seventh hour of her filibuster, Davis donned a back brace, but state Sen. Tommy Williams, a Republican, called a point of order on it. She had to lose the brace and take a strike. And the third strike was for speaking about a sonogram bill, which sounds related but the chair sustained the point of order on germaneness, and it ended her filibuster attempt.
Evidencing the fact that the slogan predated Abbott's candidacy is a tweet from Annie's List, a Texas organization dedicated to empowering women in politics, which used the #standwithwendy hashtag in a tweet that stated, “Right now, @WendyDavisTexas is beginning her filibuster of #sb5 in order to protect women's rights. #standwithwendy.”