(CNN) – At an event to commemorate her 25 years in Congress, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi talked about the need for less money and more women in politics.
"The answer to almost every 'How can we do better?' is one word: women. More women in power," Pelosi said at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington.
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Her comments came in a discussion with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who largely praised Pelosi throughout the interview and at one point referred to her former speakership as "Sam Rayburn-esque."
While the minority leader reflected on her two and half decades in Congress, she mostly discussed her time as House speaker and being the first woman to hold the position.
She went into detail about the bitter 2004 fight between Republicans and Democrats over President George W. Bush's agenda to privatize Social Security. Offering a rare bout of praise, however, Pelosi repeatedly described the former president as a "lovely man" and made a point to mention bipartisan legislation passed during his tenure.
She also took sharp aim at the soaring increase in campaign spending, especially nodding to the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for the start of super PACs. The landmark decision, she argued, was the primary reason Republicans won the House majority two years ago, thereby ending her tenure as speaker.
She warned the outpouring of money from third party groups was the largest threat to democracy.
"This is a government of the plutocracy, of the wealthy, or of the few oligarchs," she said. "Nothing less is at stake in this debate than our democracy, when the voice and the vote of the many determine elections, not the checkbooks of the very, very few."
Pelosi has long been an advocate for campaign finance reform, and in an election year amplified by an aggressive fight for women voters, Pelosi said a less money-fueled political system would bring greater diversity to the halls of Congress.
"It's gone too far. It's over the edge. We have to pull it back, and when we do, one of the benefits will be much more diversity and people able to take a chance and run," she said.