Interview on ABC's "This Week"

May 7, 2006

[joined in progress]

[Note: the things DeLay says, I swear I am not making up. This is as direct a transcription as I can make it.]

George Stephanopolous, Host: ...but the Democrats are also coming forward with another agenda. Speaker of-- [catches himself] perhaps Speaker Pelosi, she's certainly not the Speaker right now, the Democratic leader, Pelosi says the Democrats' agenda is going to be four parts, and I want to show it.

Raise the minimum wage,
Prescription drug price controls, giving the government the ability to negotiate over prescription drug prices,
Implementing the 9/11 Commission Report's, all of the recommendations, and
Paying for tax cuts and spending increases.

What do you think of that agenda?

Tom DeLay, Texas Congressman: Leave that chart up, so I--

Stephanopolous: OK, leave it up!

DeLay: I-- raise the minim-- I love that they're coming out with this-- raise the minimum wage? And take a big hit that those at the lowest in-- uh, rung of the the ladder, and prescription price-- uh, drug price control?

You know, the Democrats have been doing something incredibly sinister. They've been talking their constituents out of signing up for the Medicare prescription drug program. Their constituents, many of them, would get free drugs. And yet, they're trying to confuse the issue.

Stephanopolous: Pay as you go--

DeLay: -- Pay as you go? The Democrats, the last time they were in charge, in 1993, they raised taxes and increased spending. That's exactly what they call 'pay as you go.' And turn around the way we've been able to bring fiscal responsibility in this, and that's cut taxes, which increases revenues to the government, and restrain spending. That's why--


DeLay: -- that's what got us the balanced budget in the '90's. We're fighting a war, too. You can't fight a war and balance the budget.

Stephanopolous: Finally, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has also said that the ethics problems have certainly played a role here, and of course, you know all about that, you were investigated by the Ethics Committee. And he says--

DeLay: --many times.

Stephanopolous: --many times.

DeLay: Frivolous charges.

Stephanopolous: Right. In your view, Democrats say otherwise--

DeLay: --they were all dismissed as frivolous. By Democrats.

Stephanopolous: But how much responsibility do you and the leadership bear for what Howard Dean calls the "culture of corruption" and how do you turn it around?

DeLay: Well, Howard Dean is creating a 'culture of hypocrisy'. You know there's 22 Democrats that have ethics problems right now? Every leader-- Nancy Pelosi was found guilty of having two leadership PACs. Steny Hoyer failed to disclose over 10 trips that he has taken. The chairman of the caucus have taken a trip paid by a lobbyist. Rahm Emmanuel has many ethics problems that he encountered back in Chicago, and I can go on and on. The only people that have been found guilty is Duke Cunningham, yes, a Republican. But Frank Ballon's guilty, Nancy Pelosi is guilty, Jim McDermott guilty, William Jefferson about to be found guilty-- plead guilty.

The Democrats are trying to play politics of personal destruction while they are hypocrites and don't attack their own members.

Stephanopolous: Well, Congressman DeLay, thank you very much, let's get the response from Governor Dean. We'll bring him in right now.

Governor Dean, you heard that right there, he calls it, not a 'culture of corruption', but a 'culture of hypocrisy' by Democrats.

Howard Dean, DNC Chairman: Well, there was one name he left off the list, and that was his own. As you saw in this morning's paper, we now have emails from Tom DeLay's office, showing that in fact he did know who was paying for the $76,000 golf trip.

Look, I'm not gonna get into an argument with a guy who is on his way out of Congress. The fact is, we want real change in this country. We're gonna balance the budget. We're gonna have American jobs that stay in America, and we're gonna have honesty and openness in government again. I think those are pretty important.

Then we're gonna-- the next thing we're gonna do after that, is make sure that everybody has health care in this country. If they can do that in 36 countries around the world, we can do that here in the United States of America.

I do wanna say one other thing. I was disturbed by your first guest. I think it's time to stop beating up on the professionals in the CIA. The fact is, they did their job. They gave their intelligence to the White House, the White House didn't want to use the intelligence. The intelligence failures that got us into Iraq were not, by and large, in the CIA, they were in the White House. They wouldn't listen to what they were being told by the CIA. And that is something that did not come out in those interviews.

Stephanopolous: [Amused] Well, Governor, you certainly packed a lot into that first answer. Let me go back to where we started. On this issue of the 'culture of corruption', I want to show our viewers two members of Congress right now: William Jefferson, as Congressman DeLay pointed out, a businessman has pleaded guilty to offering his family $400,000 for legislative favors; a former staffer of his has pled guilty, as well, Congressman Mollohan forced to leave the Ethics Committee because of questions as to whether he was steering contracts improperly, or voting for contracts improperly, towards a friend and business associates of his--

Dean: --There are individual Congressmen who have made mistakes. Unlike the Republicans, our leader, Nancy Pelosi, particularly asked for an ethics investigation of Congressman Jefferson.

Here's the difference. The Republicans have done this. The White House, the chief procurement officer-- arrested. The deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, suspected of leaking intelligence, which the President said he would fire him for, and then of course didn't. In the Vice President's office, the chief of staff-- under indictment. The Republican leader of the United States Senate-- under investigation for insider trading. Mr. DeLay-- leaving Congress under indictment. His successor, John Baynor kills ethics legislation. This is a culture of corruption that the Republicans have brought to Washington.

We know there's always been some level of people doing the wrong thing in both parties. But there is a culture that goes from the White House to the Vice President's office to the leadership of the United States Senate, to the leadership of the United States House of Representatives, and in the agencies, corruption has become a way of life, and it has to change. We have to pass real ethics legislation, not the nonsense that was passed last week in the House of Representatives.

We promise you that within a hundred days, we will vote on real ethics legislation. It will pass, and there will be no more free trips, there will be no more free lunches, and there will be no more sticking things in big appropriations bills that give oil companies and HMOs billions and billions of dollars of taxpayers' money in the middle of the night.

Stephanopolous: Even before Tom DeLay was indicted, you said that he should leave the Congress. If Congressman Jefferson is indicted, as many expect, do you believe he should resign his seat?

Dean: Yes.

Stephanopolous: No question.

Dean: [loudly and briskly] Yah.

Stephanopolous: [slightly taken aback] Well, that is a straightforward answer, Governor Dean, thank you very much.

Let me talk now about-- you talked about ethics legislation coming forward in the first hundred days. That was not one of the top four pieces of legislation that Speaker Pelo-- excuse me, I don't know why I've got that stuck in my head today...

Dean: I'm glad you have it! I like the sound of that, George! I like hearing you do that!

Stephanopolous: [ruefully] I'm sure you do, but it's not the case. She is just the Democratic leader. Excuse me.

But, she did not mention that in her agenda. Do you think that there is a commitment across the board to get that?

Dean: There absolutely is, and I think you're also going to see a commitment to balancing the budget, on the part of the Democrats. In the last 40 years, only a Democratic President has balanced the budget. And I certainly think that we did get some minimal help from the Republicans when we were in office, but the fact is, the first year, a lot of Democrats gave up their seats in order to pass a bill that balanced the budget-- the first year of Bill Clinton's administration. The Republicans, of course, have been the biggest spenders, I think since any Congress that I can think of except during World War II. This is just outrageous what they've done. They wouldn't know a balanced budget if they saw one, and, the thing that is so telling about what the Republicans did-- they got rid of this legislation we used to call "pay/go" legislation, that is, you can't spend money unless you say where you're gonna get the money.

Every American family has to do that, and the Federal government should do that too, and they will do that when the Democrats take back the Congress and the White House.

Stephanopolous: How about the question raised by Congressman DeLay? He raised the spectre of impeachment; said that Congressman Conyers is already looking into that, and I want to show you an email that your counterpart, Republican chair Ken Mehlman is putting out. He says, "The Democrats' plan for 2006? Take the House and Senate, and impeach the President. With our nation at war, is this the kind of Congress you want?"

Is Ken Mehlman right, or is impeachment off the table?

Dean: They just make that stuff up over there, I think, at the RNC. The truth is, we got some big problems in this country. We've got a major health problem. We're losing jobs-- the economy's in good shape, if you look at corporate earnings, but for 80% of the American people, they're struggling. We're in a war that the President says he wants to pass on to the next President to fix. This is ridiculous, what's going on in Washington!

I'm sure there are gonna be investigations, 'cause we're gonna stop the culture of corruption. But we got some big things on our plate, and we're gonna need to deal with those, before anybody starts talking about impeachment.

Stephanopolous: Are you worried if they keep on talking about this, and then if Americans believe that impeachment is on the table, they--

Dean: -- You know, I think George, the day has come and gone long before anybody's gonna believe anything the Republican Party says about anything. This President has misled the nation, not just about political stuff. Medicare Part D-- rammed through in the middle of the night, totally. And by the way, there's-- Tom DeLay mentioned that we're trying to dissuade our people from signing up for Medicaid-- Medicare. That is just outrageous. My mother is 77 years old-- she needs that program. We're not gonna talk her out of signing up for it. It's better than nothing, it's just a mess. And it's really badly run, and it's costing the taxpayers millions and millions and millions of dollars.

So, we have a real agenda that we want to-- we need to deal with. The Republicans are not credible any more as a governmental force. We need to come forward with our positive agenda. I think Speaker-to-Be Pelosi [grins] just laid it out pretty well.

Stephanopolous: So you stand by your earlier prediction: Democrats are gonna take control of the House and the Senate?

Dean: I believe-- look, I don't predict stuff like that, but we have a very good chance of taking the House back, and I think if we take the House back, we've got a decent chance of the Senate as well.

We want real change in this country, and that's the central election issue. You want more of the same? Or do you want real change? 'Cause the Democrats are ready to lead again.

Stephanopolous: Governor Dean, thank you very much.

Dean: Thanks for having me on, George.

--- End ---

The video from which I transcribed this was originally posted on Crooks And Liars. Thanks, folks!



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