(Washington) CNN - At a session with journalists on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear she's not interested in talking about losing the House of Representatives in the upcoming midterm elections. She was defiant, and would not hear of the possibility of a GOP wave.
"I would rather be where we are than where they are," Pelosi said.
And what about the conventional wisdom that the Democratic base will stay at home because it is disappointed in Obama?
"I am the base," she said, recalling her days as chair of the California Democratic party, making the point that Democratic candidates "will own the ground on our races."
Translation: Democrats will turn out to vote.
In a way, it's not surprising that the House Speaker refuses to allow that she might not have her job back next year. But it's also in character: she's a focused, determined, pragmatic politician with one job at hand; to keep the House in democratic control. To do that, she's given her Democrats leeway to do what they must-vote against Democratic proposals and even distance themselves from her personally.
When I asked her about Rep. Walt Minnick of Idaho, who told CNN that he hasn't yet decided if he would back Pelosi as speaker, her response was instantaneous.
"Go for it," she said. "Just win your election. I just want them to win. It's their election. It's not about me."
Pelosi was predictable in her talking points: "This is a choice election, and the choice is between going back to George W. Bush or moving the country forward."
She repeatedly told reporters she was "proud" of this Congress' achievements, including health care, a small jobs bill and financial reform, to name a few. Why didn't she call for a vote on tax cuts? While some doubt that she had the votes (with the defections of moderate Democrats), she said she did. Her reason for pulling the measure now? "Do I give them (the GOP) an opportunity to misrepresent again?" she asked rhetorically. "No. I will not give them grist for the mill."
What she will do throughout the campaign is continue to try and tie the GOP to special interests-either the insurance industry, for instance, or the industries that are funding their ad campaigns.
"We need to "tattoo the Republican candidates with the source of that money and that record," she said. "It gives new meaning to the term 'Buy America.'"
In the end, though, after a discussion about why people have turned on government-which she says is nothing new-even Pelosi had to admit that the elephant in the room is 9.5 percent unemployment. "Any political party that can't exploit 9.5 percent unemployment ought to hang up their gloves," she said.
Clearly, though, she's not willing to hang up hers yet.