This day began with a one-on-one interview that I did with the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. It is going to end with the early signs that we may yet witness one of the biggest turnarounds in American political history.
Speaker Hastert is on the offensive and starting to fight back against the Democrats. And I would suggest that if the Democrats fall prey to yet another Republican strategy to define them – they may have to hang it up as a political party altogether.
I pressed Speaker Hastert on news that he told a conservative activist, Paul Weyrich, that he would “step down if he thought it would do the party good.” I got a response that I didn’t expect from a man who by all accounts appeared to be hunkered down and avoiding the storm. Hastert told me defiantly that “it wouldn’t do any good,” and that he intends to “turn this thing around.” What I found most telling was that he said he wasn’t going to “fold his tent.”
Since my interview and a recent press conference in his hometown Illinois district, Speaker Hastert has received the support of President Bush, Vice Pres Cheney, Senate Majority leader Bill Frist and most members of his House Leadership. What does that mean?
It means the fight is on and if the Democrats don’t keep Hastert and the GOP on the defensive, then this election and all the polls will turn in the majority’s favor. The Republicans believe they have a solid record of accomplishment and there’s some indication that the American public may agree.
What’s even more is that Hastert said at his press conference that not only does he not plan to resign – he intends to run for Speaker again!
Get your popcorn ready – we haven’t seen anyone crash and burn this bad since Bode Miller hit the slopes in Torino, Italy!
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