House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (search) — attending an airport groundbreaking ceremony in his Texas district on Wednesday — has three words for an alliance of Democratic politicians and action groups calling for his head: "Bring it on."
DeLay is the target of a new cable TV advertising campaign targeting the Houston voters who have elected him to office 11 times. One of the ads, supported by a $75,000 media buy, will run on four Houston area cable systems for a week and also will be seen in the Washington, D.C., area.
The ads tick off a litany of ethical matters swirling around DeLay and make reference to his involvement in the matter of brain-damaged woman Terri Schiavo, whose feeding tube was removed 13 days ago.
"He'd like you to forget that two of his close associates have been indicted for money laundering. Tom DeLay can't wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress in one family's personal tragedy. But Congress can certainly wash its hands of Tom DeLay," the ad says.
Three other ads, supported by a more modest $25,000 media buy, are designed to put pressure on key Republicans such as Rep. Doc Hastings (search) of Washington state, who replaced Rep. Joel Hefley as head of the House panel that was investigating DeLay.
"You're the chair of the ethics committee. Do your job and clean up Congress without DeLay," one ad says.
DeLay had orchestrated changes in the House rules making it more difficult to begin ethics investigations, but Democrats have refused to go along with those changes, in effect, leaving the ethics panel feckless in monitoring the House of Representatives. Still, DeLay denies he has done anything wrong, and on Wednesday he wrote the whole thing off to partisan politics.
"Bring it on. It's nothing but a bunch of leftist organizations that have a public strategy to demonize me, and usually they overreach. My constituents know what's going on," he said.
DeLay's supporters are quick to point out one of the groups running ads — the Campaign for America's Future (search), supported by liberal democratic activist-billionaire George Soros — has an informal and friendly relationship with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (search). Her official Web site contains a link to the organization.
So far, no evidence shows that DeLay is losing support in his home district, and according to one report conservative groups based in Washington are organizing a campaign to rally support for him. DeLay will take a weekend off to strategize with his supporters.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Brian Wilson.