Video: 'Lame duck majority'

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updated 11/7/2006 9:27:11 PM ET 2006-11-08T02:27:11

Tom DeLay told MSNBC's Chris Matthews the Democrats will be a "lame duck majority" if they win Congress and such an outcome would "energize the nation," leading to GOP victories in 2008.

You can read the transcript of the interview below.

MATTHEWS:  Let’s go right now to former House Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay.

Mr. Leader, thank you for joining us. 

Do you still believe, as you once did, that you own the majority in the House?

(LAUGHTER)

TOM DELAY, FMR TEXAS HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER:  Who told you that?

MATTHEWS:  You did.  Quote:  “I think Repubs will hold the House,” in our last interview.

DELAY:  Oh, you mean in this election; hold the House?

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

DELAY:  I think there’s still a possibility out there, yes, I do. This is the closest election I’ve ever seen.  The nation is polarized. It leans more to the conservative side than the liberal side.  And if our conservatives come out and vote, we’ll win.  If they don’t come out and vote, we’ll lose.

MATTHEWS:  You’re in Texas, and you’re pretty strong down there, and people probably would have liked you hadn’t you gotten into trouble down there.  But let me ask you about the Northeast and all those suburbs.

There’s been an interesting coalition—you know it better than anybody—in the Republican Party between the rural people, with strong religious beliefs, and the more secular people who commute to work in big cities, like Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, et cetera.

You’re going to get killed out there, it looks to me, based on the earlier polls, in places like Bucks County around Philadelphia, Delaware County, upstate New York—in fact, near New York, New York City.

How are you going to withstand those losses of people like—well, I won’t mention their names until they actually lose, but you got some problems up there.

DELAY:  Oh, definitely have some problems.  We have problems in some open seats in the West.  There are problems out there.

But these polls are neck and neck within the margin of error.  It can go either way.

And even if the Democrats win, starting in January, as you know, Chris, they’ll be a lame duck majority, because they won’t win by many seats, and it’s going to be very difficult for them to hold onto the majority in ‘08.

MATTHEWS:  How do you prevent people like Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee if the Democrats win, from getting his way.  Henry Waxman would love to go after the energy business down there in the oil patch down where you live.  People like, oh, who else, Conyers might get even more aggressive and go after impeachment.  I can’t think of a lot of guys.  Let’s think. Dave Obey on Appropriations might like to get a little feisty.

How do you stop a majority and make it into what you call a lame duck majority?

DELAY:  You’re exactly right, Chris, as to what they’re going to do.  My only answer to that is:  Make my day.

MATTHEWS:  I was just teasing you, Congressman.  I don’t believe they’re going to do it, but I know you do.

DELAY:  Make my day.

(LAUGHTER)

What that will do is energize the nation like I’ve never seen it before, and they’ll be thrown out by big margins, and we’ll probably end up with more than a 15-seat margin in ‘08.

MATTHEWS:  When we’re watching the next State of the Union address, again assuming the Democrats maybe pick up 15 seats—people think it will be more than that, perhaps.  I think it will be a little more than that, but who knows.  We’ll find out tonight.  All the answers come tonight. 

But I’m imagining this:  George W. Bush giving a State of the Union come January or February next year.  In the seat on the left behind him is Dick Cheney with that sort of sideways snarl he likes to have.  And then to his left will be sitting, beautifully attired, knockout, very attractive, liberal woman from San Francisco...

DELAY:  Dressed in red...

MATTHEWS:  And she’ll be shaking her head back and forth at everything the president says.  What will that mean?

DELAY:  Well, first of all, knowing her, the way she operates in the House, she’ll give a 30-minute speech in introducing the president.  That will be the first thing.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS:  That’s not very gentlemanly.

(LAUGHTER)

DELAY:  You know, that’s not going to be fun to watch, I’ve got to tell you.  But I also know that as small a margin as she’s going to have, particularly the way she made her margin, those challengers that beat Republican incumbents are not going to be wanting to walk off the cliff for the left.

And you have all these old bulls coming back.  Every chairman either was a chairman or has served 30 years or more in the Congress, and they’re not going to let her take over.

MATTHEWS:  Are you going to be on the sidelines, Congressman, advising the Republicans how to undercut her?

DELAY:  No.  I’m going to be on the sidelines working my hardest to stand on principle, push the conservative cause, and take back the House in ‘08.

MATTHEWS:  Do you have a personal problem with Nancy Pelosi?

DELAY:  None at all.  I think she’s a very nice lady.

MATTHEWS:  OK.  Thank you very much.  A gentlemen to the end, Congressman Tom DeLay from Texas.

END

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