September 17th, 2009
05:51 PM ET
13 years ago

Pelosi gets emotional about political climate

(CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who appears to rank only behind President Obama as a top target of health care reform opponents, grew visibly emotional Thursday when asked to compare the current political climate to that of years past.

"We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance," Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill press conference as she appeared to get emotional. "I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this myself in the late 70s in San Francisco.

"This kind of rhetoric was very frightening and it gave - it created a climate in which violence took place and so I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, understanding the ears that it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume," she added.

The California Democrat's image was a popular one among "Tea Party" protesters on Capitol Hill last weekend, used on signs with derogatory messages like "Congress, look what happens from too much pork."

Pelosi reiterated her commitment Thursday to a public option in the House version of the health care bill, a day after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus unveiled a compromise bill that lacks the controversial provision.

"A public option will be in the bill that passes the House of Representatives," she said.

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soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Shawn - GA

    Where was all this worry when people were hanging dolls of Bush? When people made him into a Hitler on signs?

    It is wrong no matter what side you are on, people deserve better, I am just curious why no one seemed to care when it was not Obama??

    Like or dislike anyone you want to, but let us please stop all the hate!

    September 17, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Haven't yet heard which half of our president is the racist: his white half or his black half.

    No doubt you republicans will eventually decide which half it is . . .

    September 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. JP

    It is scary that she is a big part of the problem and doesn't seem to know. People on the far fringes of both parties are destroying the country.

    September 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Thank you Nancy. Your plea that the hateful rhetoric be scaled back is a sensible one based on the ears upon which such rhetoric seems to be taking root. The politcal atmosphere is very charged, not just with the usual bickering and dissenting, but with an underlying sense of pervasive evil. There are nuts out there looking for an opening, a word, a silent concensus, from those that they look up to in government to take to the streets or, worse, to commit harm to another individual(s). Please, take heed, none of this should be taken lightly.

    September 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Another DNC veiled fear message. Even though TeaBaggers have protested peacefully and shouting at the president is not violent, we are still asked to be afraid.

    Fear is a GREAT way to control people. Imaginary fear is just as good.

    Criticism is NOT racism. Racism is racism.

    September 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Kevin in Ohio

    Awww...she wants us to play nice. After she called us Nazis. This woman is dangerous. Obama and Biden are both perfectly safe as long as this woman is third in line to the Presidency.

    September 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Michael

    Nancy Pelosi, you are still bad for this country. Do us all a favor. RESIGN!

    September 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. U.S. Common Sense

    Oh please. This is the same woman who spouted off saying the CIA lied to her. She can't have it both ways. This is politics, and both the Democrats and Republicans are guilty of the tone in Washington and across the country. For 8 years they hounded the Bush Administration, with people burning the American flag and effigies of Bush. If she can't handle 8 months of protests in their direction, then she should step down and let someone else take up the banner of being Speaker. Seriously, how did she ever get the position to begin with?

    September 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Mississippi Miss

    It is truly regretable that Nancy Pelosi sincerely and justifably believes that she is a target of some people who are among the citizens who are protesting the Obama Administration and agenda.

    She has nothing to fear, but fear itself, which is a bad way to have to live your life, especially when you are in the public spotlight.

    The saddest thing of all, is that Nancy Pelosi just doesn't get it.
    She would have made a great kindergarten teacher, but as a leader of a party that is evolving into a threat to America's freedom, she should at least keep her mind open to the possibilities of the patriotic outcry.

    September 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. tom

    This is real scary. " We are a free country and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance," What does she mean by that? Sounds like something that came out of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. Does she mean freedom is endangering safety? Please Ms. Speaker, clarify yourself, and understand one thing, we have a freedom of speech guaranteed in the US Constitution and there aren't enough police, or military personell in this Country to take it away from us. So if you want to make yourself feel safer, carry a gun.

    September 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. KMAN

    Sorry Nancy, you can't reason with or touch the hearts of the hate-filled GOP with a human emotion other that hate ... just look @ the insanity displayed through their voices and signs @ their "Tea Bagger" shout fests ... they're simply ignorant ranting fools! You know, the ones that refer to themselves as "real" Americans and Christians!

    September 17, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. alpha_nu_916

    the tea baggers are an interesting group. dollars to doughnuts many do not have an education beyond high school & it is apparent that almost all (if not all) are caucasian and over forty years of age.
    i'll make an assumption that all are racist; i mean, call a spade a spade. i think it is fair given that they think all liberals are socialist.

    September 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Laura in KS

    I'm not the biggest fan of Ms. Pelosi, but I have to agree with her on this one. The level of public outrage and hatred against the Democratic leadership for no definitive reason (the govt has so far done NOTHING to actually take away anyone's freedoms) is astonishing, and frankly, terrifying. Conservatives are always saying how "afraid" they are for this country, and I agree–I'm afraid some wacko who thinks Pres. Obama isn't a citizen and who wants to turn America into a Socialist state and take our children away and turn them into a Nazi army while taking away our guns and free speech and destroying profit and capitalism and blah blah blah is going to take violent action against our legitimate, ELECTED leadership.

    September 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Tony

    Since its Nancy herself who actually began all the name calling with the Nazi's and astroturf name calling, you sow what you reap. With approval ratings in the 30s, she is probably crying about not being a better representative of the people or a better human being.

    September 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. JDL

    Irony? Glass houses? The pot and the kettle? To a large extent, Nancy Pelosi is herself a source of much defamatory and incendiary speech against any and all whom she, in her wisdom and arrogance, has determined to be villains. I hope she will heed her own advice.

    September 17, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. smokey

    You Go Nancy ! and we the American People are behind you and Pres Obama 100%...And you are right, the climate has gotten very heated, but my hope is that once Health Reform is passed, people can once again come together like they did when Pres Obama accepted the office...I think the saying " we should all get along " is very appropriate here..But I understand the fight for affordable healthcare is still in progress, and we must not any issue derail or distract this important issue at this critical time....KEEP THE FAITH !!!!

    September 17, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Richie

    This all started with the verbally abusive outbursts at Palin/McCain rallies that the candidates did not object to. Civility is absent. I think it is fear on the part of old white people of having an African American president. @Ed Rollins - I'm NOT saying there is not legitimate political disagreement with the President. I am saying that the vehement violent tone is due to white peoples' fear.

    September 17, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. vic nashville , Tn

    Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin , Tim Pawlenty , Bobby Jindal Etc are missing

    I didn’t see any leadership from them when some people calling Obama names

    They may run for 2012 then show the leadership first

    September 17, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. wait a minute

    Speaker Pelosi just made some very intelligent statements on her vision for health care reform and her advice for her fellow politicians to take responsibility. This has proved her fit for a great leader.

    GOP wants to keep workers employed in insurance-medical industries, while DNC wants to give everyone access to health care.

    We have to ask ourselves. Are insurance-related jobs the best we can give to our people? How many more insurance jobs can we afford to offer? How do they help our economy? How many insurance workers are proud of what they do? I feel sorry for those insurance gatekeepers. I am sure they don't feel so good about their jobs and themselves.

    September 17, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Proud Boulder Liberal

    Thank you for the wise words, Speaker Pelosi. Sadly, words are cheap as never before.

    Brief Commentary on Tea Parties

    Bad Economy + Declining educational standards + Declining critical thinking + Racism =


    September 17, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Blinker

    oh give me a break!

    September 17, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Cry us a river, you totally rad babe! You have a severely warped understanding of Free Speech, having devoted yourself for way too many years to political pandering and doublespeak.

    September 17, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. minnie

    Very wise words Madam Speaker. There are a lot of angry, mentally unbalanced people out there – not a good combination. I think too many have taken our freedom of speech right to a frightening and insane level – it's really out of control. At what point does freedom of speech become slander?

    September 17, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Ren from Baltimore

    When "tea party" folks have signs saying "next time I'll bring my gun," "we want our country back," and "bury obamacare with kennedy," we know we slipped into some other kind of cultural warfare.

    I see and hear it in the suburbs northof Baltimore; the klan and confederate flag are by no means hidden from view, as they proudlyl set up at public meetings, cookouts, and county fairs.

    Leadership has to speak up, at least among their own constituents: McCain, Dole, McConnell, Cantor, Pawlenty, Alexander, Romney....this is not a religious matter, not a freedom of speech matter, and certainly not a health care reform matter.

    To not distance yourselves from the talk of secession, civil war, fascism and racial war is to be anti-America.

    September 17, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Jason

    Poor baby . . . maybe she needs to step down if the job is too much for her or maybe she should think of others for once and not her own political agenda.

    People dont like her for a reason and its her own fault!

    September 17, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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