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We’ve seen the Texas Republican’s moves as House majority leader. Now audiences will see if he can dance lead.

By Matea Gold Los Angeles Times

August 18, 2009

Reporting from New York – Can the onetime “Hammer” of the U.S. House of Representatives do a mean Texas two-step?

In a move startling even by the outlandish standards of reality television, “Dancing With the Stars” announced Monday that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — a pugnacious politician under indictment for alleged money-laundering — will be a contestant in the upcoming season.

DeLay will join the likes of singer Macy Gray, actress Melissa Joan Hart and entertainer Donny Osmond on the ninth season of the ABC show, which premieres Sept. 21. It’s the highest-profile move by the former Republican power broker since he left Congress in 2006 after being indicted in Texas in 2005 in connection with alleged campaign finance violations, in a case that is still pending.

“Every season we try to change the game a little and spread the net a bit wider,” said Conrad Green, executive producer of “Dancing With the Stars,” in an interview. “We wanted someone sort of iconic and who the audience would have strong feelings about.”

That would appear not to be a problem, given DeLay’s outspokenness on abortion, religion and the environment over the years. Green said he wanted to include a politician to shake up the dynamics of the program, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers. He added that he considered DeLay’s indictment before offering him the role, but decided it was not enough to keep him off the program.

“It’s not a political decision, putting him on the show,” he said. “It’s just a bit of fun.”

For his part, DeLay seems to have put politicking on the back burner for now and thrown himself into his new role as a reality-show contestant. His blog, TomDeLay.com, had been scrubbed of political content Monday and renamed “Dancing With DeLay.”

“I think you’ll be impressed by my moves,” he wrote on his new Twitter account.

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