Oops. CBS Concedes Scoop About GOP Move to Remove DeLay Didn’t Materialize

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-12-07-CBSENSchieffer.jpg" />On Wednesday’s <i>CBS Evening News</i>, anchor Bob Schieffer reminded viewers how “we reported last night that a group of House Republicans was ready to start proceedings to permanently remove Tom DeLay from the House leadership because of his indictment on campaign money laundering charges. Well, the Republicans held a closed-door meeting today, but there was no effort to remove DeLay, who has stepped down temporarily until the case is resolved.” Indeed, on Tuesday’s newscast Gloria Borger claimed that “tomorrow morning, House Republicans are going to meet behind closed doors and they are going to tell their leaders in no uncertain terms, ‘We never want Tom DeLay back as our Majority Leader.' They're saying to their leaders, ‘We want new elections in the early new year. And if you don't allow us to do it, we are going to force these elections on you.'” Borger promised: “I guarantee you, Bob, there are going to be people coming out of the woodwork to run for leader in the Republican Party. There's no shortage of ambition up here.&quot; (Full transcript follows.)<br /><br />Watching on Tuesday night, I took Borger’s prediction of candidates “coming out of the woodwork” to replace DeLay as a forecast about what will occur when leadership elections are held in January, not what would occur Wednesday -- but she clearly earlier asserted dissatisfaction would be raised in the Wednesday meeting.<br /><blockquote>Bob Schieffer had introduced the since-retracted Tuesday, December 6 story: “When a Texas judge ruled yesterday that Congressman Tom DeLay must stand trial on charges of funneling illegal campaign contributions to Texas Republicans, the practical effect was that DeLay may not be able to resume his role as leader of House Republicans when Congress reconvenes in January. Well, Gloria Borger has learned that a growing number of House Republicans don't want him back as leader. Gloria, tell us now. What have you learned?”<br /><br /><img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-12-06-CBSENBorger.jpg" />Gloria Borger, on Capitol Hill: “Well, Bob, tomorrow morning, House Republicans are going to meet behind closed doors and they are going to tell their leaders in no uncertain terms, ‘We never want Tom DeLay back as our majority leader.' They're saying to their leaders, ‘We want new elections in the early new year. And if you don't allow us to do it, we are going to force these elections on you.' They believe that DeLay's ethics issues have become a drag on all of them.”<br /><br />Schieffer: “Well, do they have the votes to do this?”<br /><br />Borger: “Yes, Bob. You need about 50 votes. But what we're hearing today is that the leaders are saying, ‘You don't have to force us into this; we're going to have an election as kind of a confirmation of our leadership. But I guarantee you, Bob, there are going to be people coming out of the woodwork to run for leader in the Republican Party. There's no shortage of ambition up here.”<br /><br />Schieffer: “Well, we'll talk with you tomorrow night about. Thank you very much, Gloria.”</blockquote>“Tomorrow night,” Wednesday, Schieffer didn’t talk on air to Borger.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center