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Tom DeLay: 'No Retreat, No Surrender'

Former U.S. House of Representatives majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) stepped down after 21 years in Congress.
Chip Somodevilla
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Former U.S. House of Representatives majority leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) stepped down after 21 years in Congress.

Tom DeLay, the former House Republican leader who stepped down last year amid allegations he misused campaign money, defends his and the GOP's leadership during its 12 years of power in Congress.

DeLay rebuts his predecessor and fellow Texan, former House majority leader Dick Armey, who said in an NPR interview last year that the Republicans had lost their way, putting their interests in staying power over the good of the country.

"We did as much as we could to support a conservative cause with the votes that were available to us and we accomplished some pretty amazing things with very small vote margins," DeLay tells Steve Inskeep.

DeLay, whose new memoir is called No Retreat, No Surrender, says he will not accept a plea agreement in the Texas campaign-finance case against him, "no matter what."

"I'm not guilty of anything," DeLay says, "and I will not succumb to the Democrats' criminalization of politics. I think it's incumbent on me to fight the politics of personal destruction that I've been living through for 12 years."

DeLay says he relished the business of "counting votes," but he doesn't miss being in the congressional leadership.

"It was time for me to go," he says. "If you'll remember, I was the only leader that lasted the whole 12 years. And it's a pretty grueling job – to be in leadership and driving an agenda against all the odds. And I was getting tired."

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Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
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