WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a wide-ranging interview set to air Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted success in her chamber on health care reform legislation.
“We believe that we have a good bill,” Pelosi tells CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“This isn’t about rushing,” the leading Democrat says amid criticism from Republicans that her party is trying to rush through massive changes to a sector that makes up a sixth of the U.S. economy.
Pelosi also tells King that two of the three House committees with jurisdiction over the reform legislation have already reported out a bill. Some Democrats are taking issue with the inclusion of a public insurance option in the legislation. But, Pelosi notes, the public option has “overwhelming support” of the House Democratic Caucus as a whole.
“It’s the Speaker’s job sometimes,” King told Pelosi, “to referee disputes within the family. Are you worried your family is coming apart on this and that you might not have the votes on the floor?”
“Absolutely, positively not,” Pelosi responded. “When I take this bill to the floor, it will win.”
Pelosi also weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Junior, calling it “an unfortunate incident.”
She said, “With all due respect to the police officer involved, and the professor, who was affected by it, it didn’t turn out the way it should have.”
Pelosi also refused to be critical of President Obama who initially said during a primetime press conference Wednesday that the police who arrested Gates had “acted stupidly.”
“I think that the president of the United States has great respect for those who - public safety is our first responsibility as elected officials, public safety and the national security of our country,” Pelosi said of Obama. “Nobody carries that burden greater - in a greater way than the president of the United States,” the Speaker added.
Obama made a surprise appearance at Friday’s White House press briefing to address the burgeoning firestorm surrounding his initial reaction to the Gates arrest.
The president acknowledged that his words "helped to contribute to ratcheting" up the situation when he criticized the manner in which Sgt. James Crowley arrested Gates.
"I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically," Obama told reporters. "I could have calibrated those words differently, and I told this to Sgt. Crowley."