March 7th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
11 years ago

DeLay: Tea Partiers 'a great opportunity' for GOP

(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.”

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    Tea parties are not left or right but America's tired of being screwed by both parties.

    March 7, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Gil Oberdas

    I hope the party of NO will follow the teabuggers line of yelling and complaining as if they speak for the betterment of the American people! A formula for disaster and I welcome it!

    March 7, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. if I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    For the GOP to think that the tea partiers present them with a great opportunity, I think they are wrong. The party crowd appears to be just as upset with the republican unfunded drug program under Bush as they are upset with the Bush bank bailout. When you create the two biggest socialist programs in modern history, it would seem that the baggers would look elsewhere, and not to the GOP.

    March 7, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Mickey

    The newest domestic terrorist group called the Republican Party knows better than to align themselves with the teabaggers. The GOP has enough nutbags of their own to contend with, they don't need any more.

    March 7, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Florence

    Embrace them ...I thought the Republican party already embraced the tea party platform. Didn't Michael Steele mee with the leaders of the Tea Party? and begged them for support. Isn't that why the RNC plan on fundraising using fear tactics (i.e. Obama joker face) that was the photo of the summer gathering. I think the RNC already embrace the tea baggers because they are working their events from the back end.

    August thru November is going to be the moment of truth for Republicans and the tea party crowds. We'll see if the electorates truly are fed up with government or this thing was hyped by media (FNC) and special interest groups supporting the RNC.

    March 7, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. j

    Gather all of the fear and hate mongers together – tea baggers and conservatives unite! The extreme right is taking over.

    March 7, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Emma

    The Tea Party is a mechanism to threaten the solidarity of the GOP.
    Tom DeLay is really out of touch with new solutions for the problems we face. I wonder how many people watched the interview on CNN. But as an independent thinking progressive, I am okay with DeLay making such lame statements.

    March 7, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. AndyBlue

    Great opportunity??

    The republicans financed the baggers while Fox news and Limbaugh promoted it daily.

    Then the repugs took over the "movement" because so many freaks were releaved and shut out the little guys they fooled into teabagging.

    Great movement you got going there. Very believable.

    Are people watching this sideshow really this stupid? No.

    Let me remind you all thet approx. 299 Million Americans do not watch Fox news or the listen to Limbaugh daily.

    The teabaggers are just a minority of extremists. Nothing more.

    March 7, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Squigman

    From one single nut case, to a whole bunch of nut cases.

    March 7, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. jane

    Why are we suddenly listening to Tom DeLay? He has lost the respect even of his own party.

    March 7, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Sean

    Republicans should never accept "tea partiers" as their own. I've been watching these people closely, and even interacting with many of them on blog sites they frequent, and I can say unequivocally that these "tea partiers" have to be the most ignorant group of people I've ever had the displeasure of running across. And I don't think we can ignore their virtually exclusive white membership either.

    So yes Tom. You may pick up some votes from them, but you'll also be dumbing your party waaaaaaayyyyyyyy down by embracing them. Talk about disingenuous, politically opportunistic tactics. How about this for a novel idea. Start doing what's best for the country in the long run instead of what's best for you right now. Until you do, YOU are the problem.

    March 7, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Mike in NYC

    Care to place bets on whether Zionist Christian crazies like DeLay will embrace the Ron Paul types who don't think making the world safe for Israel should be the centerpiece of US foreign policy?

    March 7, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. j

    Another republican bum pushing insanity!

    March 7, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Hammerer

    Neither party understands that the Tea Party is in no camp. It is Americans that are fed up with Washington. No more and no less.
    Spin it anyway that you like but the corruption in Washington is living on borrowed time!

    March 7, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. catmomtx

    Yep ! The tea partiers are a great opportunity for the GOP. An opportunity to use them . An opportunity to use more fear,scare and smear. An opportunity for the GOP to allow them to do their dirty work while they sit back and gloat over how they have manipulated a group of pitiful gullible people to vote against their own best interest.

    Just like the religious right, the Republicans will use them, indoctrinate them and convince them to vote against their own best interest, then drop them like their hot after they have gotten their vote.

    March 7, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. John Ca.

    I think the Tea-Party isPowerful because they can swing a vote for whoever they want and that is cool! (Dem) vs (Rep.)

    March 7, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. Mary in CT

    Yes, GOP, by all means. Accommodate the Tea Partiers. You'll get a taste of the dems' perspective with their bipartisan efforts. They'll use you and ditch you.

    I hope Tea Partiers run in every race and split the GOP vote. The GOP deserves nothing less.

    March 7, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. chrisb

    they'll welcome them in until they get their votes... then back to their old ways...

    March 7, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Larry

    Tom DeLay and Dick Armey are two of the most embarrassing people to ever come out of the 'once' great state of Texas.

    March 7, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |