Dancing With The Stars, Tom DeLay

Age is just a number for 62-year-old Tom DeLay and he says he's not going to let the 41-year age difference between him and snowboarder Louie Vito, the season's youngest Dancing with the Stars cast member, be a disadvantage. "I'm going to work harder than the young guys," he tells TVGuide.com. "Hard work always wins." See what other moves and tactics the former House Majority leader, who's nursing a pre-stress fracture in his right foot, has in mind for his Monday-night debut.

TVGuide.com: I know you're a huge fan of the show, but I imagine you were shocked when they actually asked you.
Tom DeLay:
It was a total shock, but a happy shock. It didn't take me long [to say yes]. I requested Cheryl. I don't know if it worked, but I got her. Cheryl was frankly my favorite pro on the show and my daughter, who's more of an expert on the show than I am, said, "We've got to get Cheryl Burke!" So we really prayed for Cheryl Burke!

TVGuide.com: She said she had to Google you because she wasn't familiar with you and your past. What did you think about that?
[Laughs] She's certainly apolitical, which I think is good. She comes with no preconceived images. Cheryl and I don't really talk politics. But that's also all I know. When we have down time, we talk about life experiences and you say, "Well, I remember when..."

TVGuide.com: You obviously have your critics saying you shouldn't be on the show, but what kind of response have you personally gotten?
Oh, it's been fantastic! Everybody thinks it's so cool and they think I'm very courageous to be doing this! They know me too well. And the image that has been created about Tom DeLay by my political enemies is not the real Tom DeLay.

TVGuide.com: You know how to mobilize votes, so what's your plan of attack here?
Well, I immediately understood that my political enemies can't vote against me! You can only vote for somebody. But we're working on [getting votes]. We're energizing our base. We're using all the technology that we can — Twitter, Facebook and websites tracking stuff, gathering emails.

TVGuide.com: Do you think you being on the show will open the door for more politicians?
I hope so. Politicians are people too. I'd like to see Al Gore on — loosen him up a little bit. Maybe the former speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. He's a former wrestling coach, so he could be good at this.

TVGuide.com: Is it true you were a huge dancer at conventions?
Yes and no. In the last 10 or 12 years of my career, there wasn't a whole lot of time to go dancing, so you take advantage of conventions and governor's balls and presidential inaugurations and weddings. I can do the Texas Two-Step, the Cotton-Eyed Joe, the polka, the Texas waltz. My wife and I disco.

TVGuide.com: How does the cha-cha compare to them?
Hard. [Laughs] That's all just listening to the music and shaking your booty! I get to shake my booty in the cha-cha, but your footwork is everything. You've got to be on and you have be [in sync] with your partner. It's very hard. [The Viennese waltz] is even harder. It's about control. I like it. It's elegant and graceful. I won't be showing any skin in either, that's for sure! You don't want to see my old wrinkles. I haven't gotten a six-pack yet — although they tell me they can put one on me!

TVGuide.com: Have you met your castmates?
Yeah, I've met most of them. I haven't met about five of them. They're great people and a lot fun. There's a lot of personality. I'm 11 years older than any one of them and 37 years older than Cheryl! Louie [Vito] is a great young whippersnapper. He's really funny. I'm looking forward to meeting the rest and learning the dances. My daughter, my wife and I love to dance, so this is going to be fun.

TVGuide.com: Are you going to teach them?
Yeah, and I'll get to lead! I've been following Cheryl all this time!