(CNN) – A former House Republican leader thinks that the Tea Party movement, a conservative grassroots movement that has at times clashed with the Republican Party, presents an opportunity which the GOP would be wise to seize in this midterm election year.
“I’m rooting for the Tea Party activists,” Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “mainly because - we saw it in the Texas primaries. I watched it very closely. The Tea Party activists ran a lot of people against Republican incumbents. . . . the Tea Party activists don't like what's going on, but they don't like the Republicans either.
“And it was a real message to the Republicans that they better welcome these people in, because now they voted in the Texas primary – they are Republicans.”
Asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley whether the Tea Partiers could be a danger to the GOP, DeLay said that, instead of fearing the Tea Partiers, his party should embrace the grassroots movement.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the Republicans – if they’ll take it. They now have these people in their party. They ought to be reaching out to them and accommodating them and working with them.”
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