Tom DeLay, 1999 News
52, House majority whip from Texas, grabbed the House floor during the June brouhaha over gun control and violence in the media and blamed popular culture, birth control, and day care ? not guns ? for the recent spate of school shootings. The conservative's histrionics proved successful; the House defeated modest gun-control legislation. Many Beltway insiders suspect DeLay is calling the shots in the House of Representatives, with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert deferring to him.