Sunday, January 08, 2006 Never a Texas Two-Step -- Jan. 16, 2006 -- Page 1 Never a Texas Two-Step

DeLay and Bush golfed in 2002
From the Magazine | Nation

Never a Texas Two-Step


Posted Sunday, Jan. 08, 2006
When legal and ethical questions began spinning around House majority leader Tom DeLay last year, President George W. Bush was publicly supportive. Privately, though, he questioned his fellow Texan's mojo. Bush had scored 10 points higher than DeLay in the Representative's district in 2004, and that was only after Bush had recorded a telephone message to help rally local Republicans. "I can't believe I had to do robocalls for him," the President said bitingly to an Oval Office visitor.

To people who know Bush well, the remark said it all about the longtime chill between the two pols—a distance that is only sure to grow with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea. Both camps describe the two conservative Texan's relationship as professional—an alliance, not a friendship. "DeLay admires Bush's leadership but still thinks of himself as the strongest conservative on the block," a DeLay friend says. "They perceive DeLay as a bull in a china shop. They appreciate him as their protector and retriever." Like many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill, DeLay suffers under what officials call this Administration's general lack of respect for Congress. But he is also in the unique position of being the most prominent modern Republican politician in Texas to rise without the help of White House senior adviser Karl Rove, and the two have never been close. "Karl thinks of him as someone a little bit too opinionated for his own good," says an official close to both men. "And DeLay thinks of Karl as a former mail vendor, not some great guru."


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