Tom DeLay is ‘rooting for the Tea Party activists’

Former Republican House leader Tom DeLay said Sunday that he’s “rooting for the Tea Party activists,” warning Republicans that they “better welcome these people in” to win in 2010.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Republicans, if they will take it,” DeLay said of the Tea Parties on CNN’s State of the Union. “They now have these people in their — in their party. They ought to be reaching out to them, and accommodating them, and working with them.”

DeLay accused Democrats of “arrogance” after CNN host Candi Crowley asked DeLay how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have a Democrat-controlled House, Senate and White House, but haven’t been able to secure passage of President Obama’s health-care bill.

“It’s because they’re going back in rooms and then telling the members, take it or leave it. You can’t do that. It’s obvious,” he said.

DeLay contrasted Pelosi’s handling of the health-care bill process to when he was in the Republican leadership and “knew which members were having problems and we’d take care of those problems so that by the time it got to the floor, they wanted to vote for it because they had ownership of it.”

But now, he explained, “Nancy Pelosi writes the bill, hands it to the chairman, says ‘get it out of committee in an hour and we’re going to the floor, we’re going to debate it and I’ll break arms if you vote against me.’ That will come to haunt you and bring you down.”

Delay — who infamously went on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars after leaving office when he was charged in a Texas court of ethics violations — also said he does not feel compelled to reshape his image.

“You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I really don’t care,” he said. “I am who I am and I did what I did. I’m proud of what I did. I’m proud of the Republican record. I’ve had a great career. I’ve done the things I wanted to do.”