DeLay: I misspoke.

Public Campaign Action Fund is now Every Voice. Check out our new website: EveryVoice.org

Today's New York Times story by Carl Hulse focuses primarily on DeLay's expiration date as the once and future (in his mind) Majority Leader. Hulse quotes Amy Walter (go Mules!) saying that DeLay will face trouble regaining his Majority Leader post unless he has a speedy dismissal in Texas, which doesn't look likely:

"It is one thing if it is three weeks," said Amy Walter, a nonpartisan analyst of House politics for The Cook Political Report. "Three months, that is another story."

But Hulse notes that the grand jury indictments in Texas is not the only thing DeLay has to be concerned about:

Even his detractors concede that Mr. DeLay has amassed strong loyalty in the party and retains the support of a majority of House Republicans. But all bets are off if he runs into trouble with either the Justice Department, which is investigating Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist with close ties to Mr. DeLay, or with the House ethics committee.

That's why DeLay and his attorneys are swinging for the fences to clear this one out first:

He hinted that he and his legal team were preparing to seek "remedies and appeals to higher levels" against Mr. Earle.

Further on in the piece Hulse has DeLay's comments from Rush Limbaugh's radio show saying that he misspoke when he met with District Attorney Ronnie Earle, and that that mistake is the basis for the indictments. Why DeLay is so voluble about his own troubles is beyond me.

In his radio comments on Tuesday, Mr. DeLay offered a new insight on the case, saying he made a mistake in a voluntary interview with the prosecutor's office a few weeks ago that helped prompt the indictments.

He would not discuss his mistake in detail, but it apparently concerned the $190,000 check that is central to the case. Mr. Earle charges that the money, which included money from corporate interests in Texas, was turned over to the Republican National Committee with instructions to return $190,000 to designated candidates for the Texas Legislature. The accusation is that the transaction was intended to circumvent a prohibition on the use of corporate money in state races.

"I misspoke one sentence, and they have based all of this on one sentence," Mr. DeLay told Mr. Limbaugh. "They think that before the check was cut and sent to the national committee that I approved this check. I didn't know this went on until well after it happened."

That's his defense?!?! "I misspoke one sentence.... They think that before the check was cut and sent to the national committee that I approved this check." It's been noted that DeLay wasn't testifying under oath -- his lawyers wouldn't allow it. But surely, he knew he wasn't chatting on the golf course. He was sitting down across the table from prosecutors who were investigating him and his committee.

File under "Oooops."