Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, who rose to national fame this week after her 13-hour filibuster in the state legislature, said she was not angry with the deeply personal criticism leveled against her by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, but said his comments were "symptomatic" of his perspective on women's issues.
"I didn't have an angry response to it on behalf of myself," she said Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." "I think it just demonstrated the typical attitude that Governor Perry has expressed toward the issue. He's demeaned the high office that he holds by saying things like that."
Speaking at a national "Right to Life" conference in Dallas, Perry took aim at Davis' own background, claiming she had learned the wrong lessons from being born to a single mother and having her first daughter as a teenager.
"The fact is, who are we to say that children born into the worst of circumstances can't grow to live successful lives?" Perry said, noting Davis had gone on to graduate from college and Harvard Law.
"It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example, that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters," the governor said.
The state lawmaker, who represents a district in the Fort Worth area, became a hero to abortion rights supporters this week after staging a filibuster of proposed legislation that would place new restrictions on abortions in Texas. The law would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and place new regulations on abortion providers that would limit the number clinics available.
The measure, declared dead after Davis' marathon filibuster, will be reconsidered during a special session of the state legislature convened by Perry next week.
Davis, a Democrat, acknowledged the sharp public split over the idea of banning abortions after 20 weeks.
"Let's face it. No one likes the idea of an abortion that's that late. But sometimes, women find out unfortunately later in their pregnancies that they're facing some very serious issues, either for their own health or because there are health issues for her pregnancy."
She added the larger issue was the "sanctity of personal decision making" and "keeping big government out of" that process.
Further explaining Perry's comments, his office said the governor was "praising Sen. Davis for her success despite coming from difficult circumstances, and that should be an inspiration to others."
As Davis' 13-hour filibuster -- and the response from Perry - continues to galvanize abortion rights supporters, left-leaning groups are rallying to provide the Democratic state senator support for her future political endeavors.
MoveOn.org, the liberal advocacy organization, said it had garnered pledges of more than $240,000 from 6,500 different members for Davis' next campaign. At this point, the money has only been pledged, not donated, but the group said the outpouring of support was reflective of its members standing in solidarity with Davis' right for reproductive rights.
Another group, EMILY's List, said Davis has long been on their radar as a potential candidate for higher office. They supported her in 2008, and have seen a surge in enthusiasm from their members following Davis' filibuster this week.
"We've been talking to her for years about running for higher office," EMILY's List communications director Jess McIntosh said. "We've known she was a rock star for a long time -- thrilled the country does now too!"
EMILY's List is a national organization dedicated to electing women who support abortion rights to office.