November 16th, 2010
09:03 PM ET
11 years ago

Pelosi gets an earful from fellow Democrats

Washington (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and rank-and-file House Democrats met for the first time Tuesday since suffering huge losses two weeks ago.

According to members in the closed-door meeting, several defeated Democrats blamed Pelosi for their losses and suggested she step aside as leader.

The meeting lasted for more than four hours and came on the eve of the House Democrats' leadership elections.

The members who urged Pelosi to step down included Reps. Allen Boyd of Florida and Travis Childers of Mississippi, both of whom lost their re-election bids.

Pelosi did not seem rattled by the criticism, telling reporters after the meeting that it was "wonderful."

Several Democrats also said the overwhelming majority of Pelosi's colleagues spoke in favor of her tenure, praising her for passage of landmark health care legislation and citing it as their greatest accomplishment.

Ohio freshman Democrat Rep John Boccieri, who also lost his election, told CNN he thought Democratic losses were more about the economy than about Pelosi.

"Folks are still unhappy and uneasy about the economic anxiety out there and they are going to take it out on the people in charge," Boccieri said.

Boyd and Childers, both defeated members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition, will not have the opportunity to vote in Wednesday's party leadership election. But fellow Blue Dog member Heath Shuler of North Carolina said he will run against Pelosi for the top job.

Schuler made his challenge official Tuesday, following through on his pledge to run for minority leader if Pelosi refused to relinquish the leadership position.

"We should be going in a different direction.," Shuler said.

Even though he admitted he doesn't have the votes to win, Shuler said his challenge to Pelosi is meant to send a message that Democrats need moderates to rebuild the party.

"We have to be able to recruit in moderate districts to win back the House and that's where we have to be successful in order to win in 2012," Shuler said.

Democrats were allowed the chance to talk openly about the recent election after Rep. David Wu of Oregon offered a motion to allow everyone five minutes to speak.

Some Democrats, assuming Pelosi will win the leadership election Wednesday, are exploring the idea of trimming her influence within the caucus.

One proposal would rescind the top party leader's ability to appoint chairs of key committees, namely the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which coordinates the re-election efforts of House Democrats, and the Steering Committee, which assigns committee assignments. Backers of the proposal insist these jobs should be elected positions.

"It is basically diluting the power at the very top, making sure people from places like Oklahoma have a say in the Democratic party," said Rep. Dan Boren, a moderate Democrat from Oklahoma. "We are tired of just the left and right coasts controlling the caucus. It is time for us to come together and have a centrist message."

Pelosi and her allies, though, believe that despite the loss of more than 60 seats, she is the right person to again lead them to victory.

"She took over a caucus that had lost five consecutive elections at a time when people thought we'd never win again. She brought us two victories," Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey said of the 2006 and 2008 elections. "There is a broad consensus that she is the person to unify us and build a consensus and bring us back."

Filed under: Democrats • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Right Leaning Independent

    The Dems are Delusional!!! I voted for every Republican on our ticket and it was not about the economy!! It was about Pelosi, Reid and Obama and their far left liberal agenda – period!!!! I only hope all these fools continue their delusional ways up to 2012 where a second coat of shellacking can be applied to Dems.....

    November 16, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Tony

    I am a Democrat, and can't imagine what they must be thinking...

    God help us in 2012 if Pelosi is still the leader in the House!

    November 16, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. Michael Gonzales

    She just nod her head and listen and let the others say whatever because she does not care, her agenda was passed and thats all that matters. The people yelling at her also are yelling with a wink and a nod because they also wanted this agenda and have no real intention of repealing what the've done in the past two years, its just all theatrics.

    November 16, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Pete

    Don't change a thing, Nancy is delivering everything we ever wanted. Now if Harry can live up to his word and deliver the Senate to the GOP.

    November 16, 2010 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. scott

    Demo-craps, what a useless party. Pelosi, a real idiot.

    November 16, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. Edward Nashville, TN

    I hope they keep Pelosi it just gives the Republicans more ammo to have a socialist representing the Democrats

    November 16, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. Annie

    I am behind Nancy Pelosi 1000%. This blue dogs only have themselves to blame for their losses. When you are a Democrat who behaves just like a Republican, you will never win because the people who think like you do, will always choose the Republican. Nancy should ignore their ridiculous accusations and continue to work her miracles in the face of gridlock. She rocks in my book! Go get em' Tigress!!

    November 16, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  8. Sean

    lololol Blue Dogs. Good riddance, they should go form their own party. The DINO party.

    November 16, 2010 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  9. Ken in NC

    They are mad because they lost their bid for re-election. They should have stuck togather as one party and gotten the public option and out this health care plan in place by this year but no they listened to the Blue Dogs who have now been beaten Black and "Blue" by Repiblicans with their fear campaign. Now they want Pelosi's hide for their screw-up. Suck it up, pack it up and go home boys. Show's over.

    November 16, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. Guil

    It doesn't matter what the realities are, the American people remember Pelosi as taking the leadership position and coming before us, stating that now the Democrats are "in Power!" They (the Democrats) where going to solve all our problems (after all they were caused by the "Republican congress) and so just watch their dust.

    Well, years have gone by, and as far as most Americans can see and many perceive, everything is worse and we are still waiting and wondering about the slow slow slow introduction of the health care bill.

    We have come to believe that (other than Pelosi's big mouth) the Democrates pretty much just sat on their thumbs and basked in the glory of being "in power".

    November 16, 2010 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. ken

    Moderate Democrats is just another word for, controlled by the GOP.

    November 16, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  12. Darth Vadik, CA

    Why do Democrats fall in this Republican trap all the time, even if Democrats made Jesus the House leader (majority or minority) the Republicans would come out the very same day cursing the day Jesus was born, his mother Mary and all 12 of his apostles.

    I think it is time for some South Korean government style action in our congress, Democrats gets some baseball bats and send this corporate Republican F-rs to the hospital. Get Limbaugh and Glen Beck too, then send them to their Libertarian paradise, also known as Darfur, where their theories of the survival of the strongest is truly put to the test.

    November 16, 2010 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. dennis

    Please Keep Her Democrats! She will help us say: Bye Bye Barrak in 2012! When one looks at an Electorial Map the 95% of the Country is Red, with just the vast Blue waste lands of populated California on the West Coast topped with a Blue Candy Cake Washington and Oregan, where it rains all the time, then the upper "never seen the sun (light of day) East Coast Blue Bird States (all nearly bankrupt like New York & Mass) where vast populations pay over the top taxes, and live off Govern Mint pay checks.

    November 16, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  14. all of america

    (Pelosi did not seem rattled by the criticism, telling reporters after the meeting that it was "wonderful.".) That's whats wrong with obama, pelosi ,reid, they are all ignorant and thats why the dems lost big in the elections.

    November 16, 2010 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  15. FMB

    Interesting how a 70 year old woman can be so “me-centric”. Obama handed his most important legislation to Pelosi and Reid, two of the most endeared political pundits out there and the results was them doing the “right democratic” thing, which was being democrats and closing the door to the Republicans.
    The exact reason why the Reps were able to be Reps. She destroyed the possibility of a dream for this country as a whole by being “A Political”. What makes this all more frustrating, the same Reps that were in with Bush are back in control.
    Can you say,,,, Push Replay!!!!!

    November 16, 2010 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. Bob

    Let Pelosi continue to lead the demo's..their will be half again fewer to deal with at the next election.

    November 16, 2010 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  17. Americans returned the Reds to the helm of the U.S. Titantic, giving them a 2nd chance for a direct hit at the iceberg!

    Pelosi is the only Dem with a spine.

    All you whining Dem losers lost because you did not follow her lead and voted against HCR and with the neo-cons.

    So, we are glad most of you "blue dogs" are out on your butt, that is what you get for pandering to the Reds instead of doing what was best for the people.

    Now that you have been replaced, at least now we know there are true. cold stone hearted, psycho Reds in your old position and you losers are no longer pretending you have a soul!

    Right Blanche? Buh-bye and good riddance to you all!

    November 16, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. Reggie from LA

    She has guts. They lack nu+$. Le me tell you why you hate her. You were trained by GOP megaphones to denounce her (and Obama) and you don’t even know why. Be honest. You don’t know her, do you? Well, one thing a bunch of whiners discredit her for is healthcare reform. We Real Americans pay our insurance premiums all our lives. 100s of thousands. Cause we’re not freeloaders and we’re smart. Then we die. Oh yeah. We got a $$ app for that too. Health insurance company execs and below(don't feel safe, there's a lot of'em) keep the money and buy boats and planes and stuff, and wine and dine our wives and girlfriends. I hate Pelosi for interfering with their plans. Don’t y’all?

    November 16, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. Denny

    There's no question Pelosi was the poster girl for things done in Washington that people didn't like. She was the most visible pusher of the health care bill, which people don't like but at least as importantly, don't like how it was crammed through. Her ridiculous statement that they had to pass the bill to learn what was in it epitomized what people dislike about the Washington way. She appears too loopy to accept any responsibility – the typical liberal to the end.

    November 16, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. stannardg

    Da, she should follow liberal leader Gordon Campbell of BC. He blew it , they blame him , he is now part of the problem, he resigned. Haha ,, don't take effect immediately, however that is statemenship.

    November 16, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. c3po

    So...Democrats want to dump Pelosi. It's time the party realized there is no such party; Democrats are a misnomer. You want centrist views? Become a Republican, and fight about it there. I'm sick of of this party taking off on its own tangent. I want a Democratic party that is cohesive, and determined to move FORWARD, not back, and certainly not a head-fake to the the right. Get on board...or find another train.

    November 16, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  22. Bob in Pa

    The woman can't see past her own ego. Her accomplishments in passing legislation are akin to cheating while playing monopoly. It is a shame that her conscience will never catch up with her.

    November 16, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. Rob Johnson

    Nancy Pelosi is the single biggest liability the Democratic Party has today. To me it seems fairly obvious that her "my way or the highway" attitude towards the GOP was the excuse the Republicans needed to advance their highly successful "the Democrats are ramming things down our throats and creating a Marxist dictatorship" meme. If Pelosi had at least pretended to be civil to the Republicans, that whole storyline never gains traction. She gave them an opening, when everyone thought the GOP was down for the count for a generation, and these recent midterm results are as much a rebuke of her as they are of Obama.

    I feel like Harry Reid is a decent man, no great leader but a good man who is trying to do what he thinks is best. I feel much the same way about Obama, he's made some mistakes but I'm glad he is President and not John McCain or Sarah Palin.

    However, if the Democrats were smart, on a purely political level the best thing they could possibly do right now is ditch Nancy Pelosi. She grew up in politics, she'll understand it's nothing personal. By changing the House leadership, the Dems could legitimately claim to have changed in response to the election without undermining Obama's re-election bid in 2012.

    November 16, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |

    The problem is that this egostical woman wants the attention. She will not step aside for the betterment of the party no more than ERKEL will. But with Obama, Reid and Pelosi the Democrat party will soon be a thing of the past. The American people can stand no more of their foolhardy politics. To be destructive is one thing. But to try and totally change the Constitution is another. This is plain old traitorism. We True Americans wiill not stand for it and are ready to fight one way or another. IMPEACH OBAMA, REID AND PELOSI.

    November 16, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Clark1b

    and the economy is the leaders in Congress's fault ... they keep spending and driving up the debt, they keep moving us toward socialism and discouraging business, they keep entitlements going and building a nanny state .... was Pelosi for or against regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when the democrats were pushing for more subprime loans being made?

    November 16, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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