DeLay ready to go 'Dancing'

September 18, 2009 7:23:15 AM PDT
Can he or can't he dance? We'll soon find out if Tom DeLay's foot injury will impact his performance on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars." Earlier this week, DeLay reported on twitter.com that he suffered a pre-stress foot fracture during rehearsals in Los Angeles.

Will that affect DeLay's performance? We talked with DeLay and his dance partner as they rehearsed last week in Sugar Land and he says he has no intentions of letting anything stand in his way.

When you're 62 years old, learning to cha-cha four hours a day can be taxing, even for a man who spent years fighting taxes.

"After four hours, I can hardly walk because my toes are about to fall off," said DeLay.

Tom DeLay is among the cast of 16 stars selected for season nine of "Dancing With The Stars." We were granted exclusive access to one of his rehearsals in Sugar Land. The former House Majority Leader dubbed "The Hammer" on Capitol Hill says the perseverance that earned him that nickname will translate over to his success on the show.

"Part of my success in politics was I never quit. No matter what it is, I never quit. I'm not just dancing to have fun for one or two shows, I'm dancing to win!" DeLay said.

He admits any success he has on the dance floor will be due to dance partner Cheryl Burke, a two-time "Dancing" champion. She says she and DeLay have a real chance.

"He's in really good shape. I see him doing pushups every single day after rehearsal and he stretches. I just wish to be in this good shape when I'm 62," said Burke.

She's known for choreographing some tantalizing dances in prior seasons. In her ABC bio, she says, "You want people to be so uncomfortable watching it because we are going to be so sexy."

Burke says they're working on DeLay's hip movement.

"We're trying to get it there," said Burke.

So can this conservative really pull off sexy?

"No, no. Not sexy! Just having fun. I'm not sexy, believe me," said DeLay.

You might be surprised to learn this isn't the first time Tom DeLay has strapped on the old dancing shoes. He grew up dancing in his native Venezuela and even took disco lessons in the mid-1970s.

"I would think he would still be pretty good," said Nancy Brainerd, a friend of DeLay's.

Brainerd was in class with him near Simonton and remembers seeing a relaxed side of DeLay that so many don't know.

"I hope he does well and I hope he surprises us and goes all the way to the end," said Brainerd.

If nothing else, DeLay hopes his appearance on the show proves that politicians can cut loose too.

"Hey, I want to have fun," said DeLay.

"Dancing With The Stars" premieres Monday, September 21, at 7pm on ABC 13. Reporter Bob Slovak will report live backstage on Eyewitness News at 6pm and 10pm on Monday.

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