Primary sign that George W. Bush has gone off his second-term political rails: Supporting Tom DeLay. What? Is Rove on vacation? Off to a spa for a back wax?
Next we’ll hear that Bush is checking out the thongs of zaftig interns…
The White House denied that DeLay's appearance with Bush at a Social Security event here was a way for the president to give the House leader a political boost. But while the president has steadfastly backed DeLay, Tuesday's appearance took Bush's public show of support to a new level.
"I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Tom DeLay in working on important issues that matter to the country," Bush said before he began plugging for Social Security overhaul.
DeLay, an influential conservative on Capitol Hill, is facing questions about money used to pay for some of his foreign trips, about political fundraising for Texas elections and about his ties to a lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, who is under federal criminal investigation.
DeLay, who rode with the president in his limousine, on his Marine One helicopter and then on Air Force One for the return flight to Washington, has said he's willing to defend himself before the House ethics committee, but the panel is essentially shut down because of a deadlock over new rules imposed by Republicans.
Upon landing, and after a goodbye handshake at the bottom of the Air Force One steps, DeLay said the president's very public show of support for him Tuesday "felt very good." "The president was very gracious," he said. "We feel very humbled by that kind of support."