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DeLay and Santorum on why the GOP lost control

September 04, 2008|James Hohmann

Almost two years after Republicans lost control of Congress, two party leaders who were washed away by the voter backlash remain convinced that voters did not give a mandate for Democratic policies in the midterm elections.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who left office under a haze of scandal but has been using a new political group to rehabilitate his image, blamed an organized liberal coalition for doctoring up frivolous charges against conservative lawmakers -- including him -- and using independent political groups to drag Republicans through the mud.

Conservatives "didn't lose their way or their principles," DeLay said at a breakfast sponsored by a group of media organizations Wednesday in St. Paul, Minn.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference who lost his seat in 2006, said the serial indictments, resignations and probes created the perception that Republicans were corrupt.

"It's not that we don't have the ideas," he said. "We do have the ideas. We have not made the compelling narrative."

DeLay said it might take five to 10 years for the Republicans to reclaim the majority.

"We have nothing that looks like," he said, referring to the activist group.

-- James Hohmann

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