Acoalition of the most conservative House Republicans, the Republican Study Committee, showed its clout by luring House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to a retreat in Baltimore on Friday for luncheon remarks urging them to stick to their principles on budget and social questions. He drew a standing ovation -- at least the third he has received from House Republicans in the past two weeks, despite the possibility of future legal trouble.
In addition to a constitutional amendment restricting same-sex marriage, a priority for the group, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), is a bill that would require physicians to tell women seeking an abortion at least 20 weeks into their pregnancies that their fetuses could feel pain, and require that the women be offered anesthesia for the fetuses.
House GOP leader Tom DeLay got another standing ovation from members of his caucus.
About 50 of the 100 caucus members attended along with Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.). Other speakers included group founder Charles W. Colson and former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.).
The group went to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for a dinner marking the 10th anniversary of the swearing-in of the "revolutionary" class elected in 1994.
New Details on Gingrich 'Contract'
A new book spreads the credit for the Republicans' 1994 takeover beyond Gingrich and reproduces 37 pages of internal documents, complete with doodles. These include a transition plan that sketched plans for a ruthless takeover beginning early the morning after Election Day.
The author, Fox News correspondent Major Garrett, writes in "The Enduring Revolution: How the Contract with America Continues to Shape the Nation" that the document shows the GOP revolutionaries' hunger for power. The plan called for oversight hearings, never held, to put the former majority on trial. "House Republicans must be willing to let the world know that great evil has been done in the Congress over the last 40 years of Democratic rule," the document says. "To exaggerate a bit, this will be our Nuremberg."
The book quotes former House majority leader Richard K. Armey of Texas, Gingrich's number two, as saying that the future speaker had once scolded him for talking about being in the majority because people were laughing at him. "I like to tell the story because you know, with Newt, things are always born with Newt," Armey said.
Gingrich said in an e-mail that the book puts "the Contract" in accurate context. "Every Democrat who wants to know how to build a positive, idea-oriented agenda and how to integrate a team into one effort should read it," he wrote. "Every Republican who wants to be reminded how we got to be a majority -- and why we have to remain the reform party if we want to stay a majority -- should also read it."
The book does not treat Gingrich gently. The author wrote that as he began an interview with Robert J. Dole, the former Senate majority leader said with a wry smile and faint twinkle: "So you're doing a hatchet job on Newt, huh? Wouldn't be hard." The book shows Gingrich grabbing the phone during budget negotiations with President Bill Clinton and calling him a lying son of a gun, with a two-syllable modifier that cannot be printed here.
Tony Rudy, DeLay's former chief of staff, told the author: "The Clinton White House figured out how to play Newt. They would put the Time cover with Newt as Man of the Year on the coffee table in front of where they would have Newt sit. Newt would come back into leadership meetings from the White House and tell us how the White House understood his significance."
"I don't know whether you want me to take a Sherman, or say, 'If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve,' or, 'Not only no, but hell no.' I've got my plans laid out. I'm going to serve this president for the next four years, and then I'm out of here."
-- Vice President Cheney, when asked yesterday by Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" about the possibility of a 2008 run.