Tom DeLay Talks to NEWSWEEK About Hanging Up His Dancing Shoes

Does the world feel a little more empty today? Last night Tom DeLay called it quits on Dancing With the Stars after he decided he just couldn't weather the pain of having stress fractures in both his feet. "If you can't practice, you make a fool of yourself out there," he told viewers last night. He's right. It takes a lot of practice to make those Kevin Bacon knee slides, sassy head whips, and sultry pelvic thrusts convincing. Not to mention all that booty shaking. Unfortunately, we'll never forget. This morning, DeLay phoned NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh to elaborate on that decision, as well as Bill Clinton, birthers, and whether he's worrried about going to jail. Here's an excerpt:

So how bad is your injury?

Two weeks ago, I got a stress fracture in my right foot. Last week I got a stress fracture in my left foot. It was pretty painful to practice last week. Last Sunday I could only do 30 minutes. But I knew the dance, and I wanted to see if I could dance. We took it one dance at a time and it worked out. But I also knew I couldn't go through that again. In order to be in this competition you had to practice, and you had to practice four hours a day. I could only practice for 45 minutes and then ice. You have to have two feet to dance.

Why did you do the show?

I thought it would be a lot of fun. I was a fan of the show. The producers surprised me that they would even call. It didn't take me 10 to 15 minutes to say yes. It seemed like a challenge to me, which it turned out to be. So I accepted.

Why do you think they chose you?

I think over time, they were trying to find a politician to come on the show to widen their star power. I guess it's pretty easy to get Hollywood types and actors and singers. They wanted to broaden their scope. I think Tucker Carlson was as close to a politician as they could get. I think it's pretty difficult to get a politician, to be honest with you. Most of them are busy. They can't take five to eight hours a day to practice dancing. I wasn't doing much. We had time, and I connected.

I heard that in the course of getting to know these folks. I challenged Bill Clinton on some TV show to come on.

Check out Pop Vox for the rest of the interview.