GOP lawmaker unleashes email tirade at colleague

By the Associated Press | July 19, 2011 | 8:30 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican congressman from Florida has taken to email to call one of his Democratic colleagues from the state "vile, despicable and cowardly" after she criticized his stance on Medicare in a House speech.

The first-term Republican from south Florida, Rep. Allen West, sent his peppery email Tuesday to numerous lawmakers as well as his target, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, also of Florida. She chairs the Democratic National Committee.

West unleashed a stream of harsh criticism in the email after he learned that Wasserman Schultz had criticized him in a House speech in his absence. In her remarks, she contended that "the gentleman from Florida" supported a GOP debt-reduction plan that she said would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

Wasserman Schultz had no immediate reaction to the email.