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DeLay: Independent Groups Hold Key to Election

By Ronald Kessler   |   Monday, 04 Aug 2008 10:16 AM

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says both John McCain and the Republican National Committee need to do more to encourage independent groups to help their cause.

“They need to encourage donors to coordinate their giving to the groups that are trying to make a difference, whether they be grass-roots groups or media groups or a combination of both,” DeLay says.

“They’re not doing the blocking and tackling that needs to be done through these groups — the grass-roots on-the-ground game, as well as an air game,” DeLay says. “They need to be doing voter registration, voter identification, canvassing neighborhoods, keeping possible voters energized, and turning them out through independent groups.”

DeLay knows how to win elections. He can lay out exactly how to deliver a precinct or a state to the right candidate. His attention to detail makes him a success.

Since leaving Congress in 2006, DeLay has formed First Principles, a political consulting firm, and founded the Coalition for a Conservative Majority.

“I don’t check in with McCain, so I don’t know what they’re doing, but what I see is they don’t have much of an emphasis on organization,” DeLay says. “I don’t see them getting local party organizations to raise money in order to run on-the-ground efforts for John McCain.”

In contrast, DeLay says, “The Left over the past seven or eight years has put together an incredibly impressive political coalition. That includes donor coordination, media operations, communications operations, grass-roots operations, opposition research, they’ve got it all. And they work together. The unions alone are putting $300 million in this race. They’re doing independent expenditures. The trial lawyers are doing independent expenditures.”

As founder and fundraiser for Coalition for a Conservative Majority, DeLay is helping to build an organization whose purpose is to carry out a long-term political strategy. For example, in Pittsburgh, members of the coalition, headed by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, meet on a regular basis and work on projects.

“Their goal is to create a working relationship either for or against the elected officials in their media market,” DeLay says. “So the congressmen that represent Pittsburgh, the state reps, the state senators, even county officials, get to know them. The coalition members support those that are conservative, and they make life miserable for those that are not. We can drive policy, and that may have an impact on the campaign.”

Currently, the only other major independent GOP group running ads is Let Freedom Ring. The group produced the “Both Ways Barack” ad, which attacks Barack Obama as just not a flip-flopper but as someone who “holds two positions at the same time.”

The group has spent several hundred thousand dollars to air the ad on major broadcast and cable networks, according to Carl Hanna, president of the group.

McCain has a chance, DeLay says. “The biggest sign is how close they are right now. I just in my gut think that Obama’s hit a ceiling that I’m not sure he can get through.”

DeLay says he likes McCain’s latest approach of trying to define Obama.

“I think that’s going to help with his base,” DeLay says. “The more he goes after Obama, the more the base is going to like it.”

Yet, DeLay says, “It hasn’t sunk in yet about how radical Obama’s world view is because you can’t tie him down to a world view. And I don’t know if anybody who works for McCain understands the whole notion of world view. And that’s what they ought to be going after is his world view. Not how he feels about health care, or how he feels about energy — what is this man’s world view?”

DeLay says, “Obama is a socialist who wants a redistribution of wealth. Obama is a way-out radical, the most radical presidential nominee in the history of this country.”

In the end, he says, “I just cannot believe the American people are going to elect him.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.

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