House Majority Leader Rep. Tom Delay, R-Texas

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 13, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Is the president getting strung along on Iraq? I had a chance to catch up with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who says he fears the U.N. is doing its darndest to stall the inevitable. So my first obvious question, are these constantly changing deadlines hurting us or helping us?


REP. TOM DELAY (R-TEXAS), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, it looks like we've been stretching out the deadline. We started in the fall with Resolution 1441 that I thought set pretty good deadlines, and yet it's taken months to get any sort of answer out of Saddam Hussein. And now we keep pushing it one day at a time. And I understand why the president is trying to give diplomacy a chance, but he's also said that diplomacy has pretty much played out. The time for dissent is over, the time for action is before us.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the English are buckling?

DELAY: No, I don't… at least [from] my information, from the White House and watching the press, and Tony Blair, he is standing strong, he is showing incredible moral leadership. He has made himself into an incredible statesman. And he has said on many occasions that even if it doesn't go well in the United Nations, he's going to stand with the United States.

CAVUTO: But do you think that he is doomed politically, that he could be, like, a modern-day Winston Churchill, and ultimately sacrificed for the very type of people he is trying to save?

DELAY: Well, he is doing the right thing, and I think if this turns out well, hopefully the people of the United Kingdom will understand that he is showing great leadership. And they want to continue that leadership. But my understanding is, he has a lot of other problems. Old-time Labour people that don't particularly like his domestic policy, and they are out to get him too. So I don't know what his political future is.

But I know what his legacy is in history, and it is a bright one.

CAVUTO: Sir, what about this so-called drop-dead date? What is it, in your mind, the people you talk to, at which point really there is no more dithering?

DELAY: Well, I think that the drop-dead date is when the diplomacy is ended. If they have a vote in the U.N. or don't, one way or the other, the U.N. has an opportunity to be either relevant or irrelevant. When that vote comes or doesn't come, that is the end of diplomacy.

And now we have to look at doing what we've known we've had to do for over a year now, and yet we have been waiting for the diplomatic process to play itself out. We've known that this Saddam Hussein is an evil tyrant, that he's been deceiving the world for 10 years now. And it's time to end it, and it's time...

CAVUTO: But do you fear, though, congressman, that the longer this drags on, if, for example, we are realistically looking at pushing this latest deadline, already many times delayed, delayed still further, possibly even into April, what is your concern?

DELAY: Well, my concern is, is as the longer we delay, the higher the stress level on our troops that are on the border. We've got troops in country, we got people flying in sorties over Iraq, going after command and control facilities.

So, I mean, we are at war right now. We've got troops in Afghanistan that -- I mean, when you got people staged to go to war, there is an emotional level that is hard to sustain for very long periods of time. So that is working on this.

It also is having a huge drag on our economy. People have just stopped doing business, waiting for this war to happen.

CAVUTO: So you think the longer this uncertainty...

DELAY: Not...

CAVUTO: ... drags on, the more it hurts the economy, the more it hurts the markets.

DELAY: Yes, I do.


DELAY: Yes. And not that we want to go to war to help the economy, but there are consequences for stretching it out, there are consequences for dissenters to be saying the things that they are saying. And this is the time, in my opinion,, this is the time to just cut it, and do what we know we are going to have to do, and get it over with.

CAVUTO: So you are arguing war is inevitable.

DELAY: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Very quickly, on the president and what he risks here. Tony Blair, the political problems he's having there, and that he could ultimately lose his job as a result of his stance, there are many who say the president faces the same risk here, that in the face of polls that show most Americans without U.N. support are not for war in Iraq, he knows this is the right thing to do, he says, you argue this is the right thing to do.

Do you think that this president is prepared to be a one-termer if it comes down to war?

DELAY: No doubt about it. This president is an incredibly strong moral leader, and we've seen that. We have known it for a long time in Texas. But we certainly have seen it, and the world has seen it, since 9/11. And, I mean, he is standing on what he believes in. He has a strong foundation of principles that he makes his decisions on.

And we are seeing the results. He has led this country in the right direction, doing the right things, and defending freedom around the world, and protecting the American people, and he's doing it under great criticism, unfortunately, but hopefully, that criticism will now come to an end, and we we'll all unify and support our troops and support the effort and win the war.

CAVUTO: You know, a lot of your loyal fans, Mr. Majority Leader, say, That has a nice ring to it, but they like President DeLay. You interested?

DELAY: Forget it.


CAVUTO: That is not in the cards?

DELAY: Not in the cards. I would have to get a divorce before I could run for president. My wife would never allow that.

CAVUTO: You never know, you never know.

DELAY: No, I like what I am doing.

CAVUTO: Mr. Majority Leader, thank you so much. Good talking to you.

DELAY: Thank you, thank you, Neil.


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