Two journalists who’ve covered Tom DeLay extensively over the years tell TPMmuckraker they’ve never heard of his story about protesters at a health care town hall in the 80s who “brought in quadriplegics on gurneys and dumped them on the floor in front of my podium.”
“Jan Reid and I (and a researcher) spent a full year, reading clips and running down sources. Nowhere did I see any mention of quadriplegics brought in on gurneys,” Lou Dubose, co-author of The Hammer: God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress, tells TPMmuckraker in an e-mail. “We would have used if we had it.”
Asks Dubose, who was also editor of The Texas Observer: “Sufficiently newsworthy that it would have appeared in print somewhere? We never saw a trace of it.”
Susan DuQuesnay Bankston, who worked for the Fort Bend Star from the mid-1980s until last year, including as a political columnist, followed DeLay closely over the years and attended many of his town halls. She even gave him the nickname “Hot Tub Tom,” from his wild days in the state legislature, she said in an interview today.
Of DeLay’s story about quadriplegics being “dumped” in front of his podium at a town hall, Bankston says: “No incident like this ever occurred.” If it had happened, “the chances of us hearing about it were one hundred percent.”
She does, however, remember the 1996 incident involving protesters in wheelchairs on which DeLay may be basing his tale. But, Bankston says, “there was no paraplegic dumping.”