Tom DeLay, shooting from the lip

Having apologized -- sort of -- for threatening federal judges involved in the Terri Schiavo case, DeLay raises the specter of an armed defense against ethics allegations.

Published April 18, 2005 4:14PM (EDT)

You'd think Tom DeLay might have learned. When the house majority leader said that "the time will come for the men responsible" for the death of Terri Schiavo to "answer for their behavior," Democrats and even some Republicans took him to task for crossing the line. Criticizing the decisions of federal judges is one thing; hinting, however vaguely, at the need for vigilante retribution is another. DeLay ultimately apologized, sort of -- saying that he had made his comments in an "inartful" way.

So what does he do next? As the keynote speaker at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Houston this weekend, DeLay thanked the group for supporting him through his ethical troubles -- and then suggested, once again, that violence might be the way to handle things. "When a man is in trouble or in a good fight," DeLay said, "you want to have your friends around, preferably armed."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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