'Dancing' Trips Up Tom DeLay's Comeback

Tom DeLay, here with Cheryl Burke, quit "Dancing With the Stars" because of fractured feet.
Tom DeLay, here with Cheryl Burke, quit "Dancing With the Stars" because of fractured feet. (By Adam Larkey -- Associated Press)
By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fractured feet did in former House majority leader Tom DeLay in his bid to make himself over from scandal-tainted pol to that nice old man who won the cheesetastic Mirrored Disco Ball on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

The rump-shaking Texas Republican announced his resignation from the running Tuesday night -- 24 hours after he ignored the advice of show producers and a doctor in order to samba to War's "Why Can't We Be Friends?" while dressed in red and white stripes, a big GOP elephant across his back, with partner Cheryl Burke, who wore a backless little white-stars-on-field-of-blue number with a Democratic donkey planted on her thigh.

"You can't practice," DeLay told show host Tom Bergeron, about his decision to withdraw from the competition due to stress fractures in his feet.

"If you can't practice then you make a fool of yourself," said the man who, not to put too fine a point on it, had a Spangly Elephant on his back. "I don't want to do that to Cheryl."

On the bright side, thanks to his fractured feet, we won't have to watch DeLay dance the Texas two-step next week, as planned, wearing God only knows what. Or so we thought, for one happy moment.

"If you are feeling better later in the season, we would like to extend the invitation for you to do the Texas two-step in our finale," Bergeron stepped in.

"I'd love that -- that would be wonderful," DeLay gushed.

"Awwww," went the studio audience.

Political pundits had forecast DeLay would go far in the dance competition and might actually win because of his aggressive online campaign to get out the viewer votes. But TV-watching experts had seen the end coming Monday, when he played his Spangly Elephant card way too early in the competition -- this is only the third week of the show's ninth edition.

Another giveaway: the telltale "Don't worry about me, I'm okay -- did I mention my feet are broken?" comments DeLay made to the camera before Monday's competition, during Monday's competition, and after Monday's competition. Not to mention the little post-show interview he gave to People magazine, while his feet were dressed in "orthopedic booties," in which he said: "They're starting to tell me I shouldn't have done this" and -- of his broken feet -- "I ice them. I've got a bone stimulator machine that I put on them."

DeLay had tiptoed gingerly through the samba Monday; he descended a short flight of stairs looking like he had gum stuck on the bottom of his shoes.

"My father drilled into me as a kid: Never ever give up!" DeLay snarled at the camera, while giving the kind of do-not-mess-with-me look that could cause House Republicans to shake in their wingtips and vote to "save" Terri Schiavo.

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