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"Drunk with Ambition"

Via Andrew Sullivan, via Taegan Goddard, comes a minor but eye-opening sequence from an interview of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay by Chris Matthews. You can watch the clip here -- and I recommend it -- while the transcript is below.

In this section of the interview, Matthews is asking DeLay about a passage in his new book:

MATTHEWS: OK. Let me go -- you know one of the fellows we've had on this show on occasion is Dick Armey. We've had him on quite a bit. And I don't know him that well. I didn‘t have any problem with him. I didn't have to work with him. I thought he was an OK guy. He seems sort of a Knights of Columbus type to me, a regular guy.


MATTHEWS: I don't think he was Knights of Columbus. But he seemed like a regular guy. You say he was drunk with ambition.

DELAY: Actually that's not what I said. What I said was he is blinded by ambition. Drunk with ambition is a quote of a cliche. I said.

MATTHEWS: Oh, well, why would I underline it in the book? Go ahead, continue on your thought, he was blinded by ambition, I'll look for drunk.

DELAY: Look, what I did in the book, Chris, is I talked about all of our strengths and weaknesses and telling the story of what went on in the Republican majority over the last 12 years in this book, of course I'm going to talk about my strengths and my weaknesses and the players' strengths and weaknesses.

I compliment Armey on the fact that he put together the Contract with America and he did a fabulous job in writing the bills of our agenda of the [sic].

MATTHEWS: "He resented me for being the other Texan on the leadership team, and he resented anyone he thought might get in the way of his becoming speaker of the House. Beware the man drunk with ambition."

DELAY: Read the sentence before that, it said "blinded."

MATTHEWS: That's what I just did.

DELAY: "Blinded by ambition."

MATTHEWS: No. I'll read the sentence here. "He resented me" -- it's right here in your book. You have got to read it.


At this point, Matthews hands the book to DeLay, open to the page with the quote in question.

MATTHEWS: I'm sorry, Tom, it's there, I read you said he was drunk with ambition.

DELAY: Yes. That is the cliche. But right up here, I can't -- I don't have my.

MATTHEWS: Well, you didn't put it in italics.

DELAY: I don't have my glasses on. Up here it says blinded.

MATTHEWS: OK, OK, OK. So it is blinded or drunk with ambition.

DELAY: It's still a good book.

So the question is, if Tom DeLay will lie about his own words, written down in a book he wrote, when confronted with the book itself, what won't he lie about?

How can anyone have any faith in a person like this? I know there are still people out there who do, and I just can't get my head around it.


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