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DeLay, Blackwell launch activist group

Two polarizing Republican political figures have joined forces to launch an organization that will seek to counter Democratic message groups on a wide range of issues.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) explained in an interview on Thursday that he and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell opted to promote the Coalition for a Conservative Majority (CCM) in conservative-leaning media markets rather than the more traditional method of focusing on swing congressional districts.

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The markets, which include Houston; Scranton, Pa.; Pittsburgh; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Denver; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Phoenix and Las Vegas were identified by DeLay as areas where Democratic organizations will also be focusing their efforts in the coming months.

“There was a real void at the grassroots level … we are going to connect many things that already exist with a governing coalition,” Blackwell said, adding that the group was created in an attempt to complement other conservative organizations rather than compete with them.

“We don’t need to recreate a national policy shop,” he said. Blackwell lost to then Rep. Ted Strickland (D) in last year’s Ohio gubernatorial race.

DeLay stressed the 501(c) 4 organization will focus only on matters that are important to conservatives and would play no role in political campaigns.

He said that Democratic organizations have proven extremely adept, pointing to the recent blitz they launched during the debate on the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Republican groups did not counterattack, DeLay noted.

DeLay said that if such a GOP response had been mounted, more Republicans would have felt comfortable voting to sustain the president’s veto.

Ideally, DeLay said, groups will meet once a month and will be encouraged to set up meetings with members of Congress in their respective districts. The group’s members will be trained in how to communicate the conservative agenda and how to become effective activists for conservative principles in public policy and in politics.

“This will give us political participation around a specific conservative worldview,” DeLay said.

DeLay, who is still fighting charges leveled against him by Travis County, Texas, District Attorney Ronnie Earle, demurred when asked which Republican presidential candidate would be the most helpful to the cause. Blackwell said that a strong conservative coalition could help further shape the race.

“Through a strong conservative coalition we can help change the nature of the conversation … we want to win the war, we can change the nature of the discussion,” he said.

Both men agreed that the Democratic nomination of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) would cause conservatives to mobilize quickly, but would also pose the largest threat to Republicans.

“There is no doubt about it that if the right doesn’t get its act together, she’s going to be the next president,” DeLay said.

Late last year, DeLay predicted that Clinton would win the Democratic nomination, select Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Voting rights bill must pass before next election The world's most passionate UFO skeptic versus the government Biden plans to host Obama for portrait unveiling that Trump skipped: report MORE (D-Ill.) as her running mate, and be elected president in 2008.

DeLay dismissed the idea that the ethical cloud that hung over him during his final years in Congress or Blackwell’s unpopularity as Ohio’s secretary of state would inhibit the cause.

“I’m here to push the conservative cause and if I can influence [conservatives] and defeat [those] that are doing the wrong things… it’s about the cause, not Tom DeLay,” DeLay said.

Blackwell echoed DeLay, saying he welcomed any challenge to his conservative credentials.