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. John in Sacramento

    What a bunch of whiners; they have no one to blame but themselves if they lost–they should have ran a better campaign. Each and every one of them had ample opportunity to put together a powerful message to their constituencies during the mid-terms. The ones that ran from their records usually lost. The ones who boldly ran on what was accomplished in the last two years usually survived. End of story.

    November 16, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  2. John G

    She doesn't care, she never listens to any people.

    November 16, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. car1944

    This is a story I knew was coming from those Democrats who lost their seats on November 2, 2010. It takes quite a bit of nerve for these losers to do that. Everyone of the Democrats who lost deserved to lose because they did not stand for anything. They had no principals other then to retain their seats. Most importantly, the blue dog Democrats who lost in my opinion goes right to the front of the line.
    Blame yourselves, not the speaker. She stood up for the unemployed, she stood up for the uninsured. What the hell did you do? Let me tell you what you jerks did, you ran and hid like the cowards you are.To me you also did the unforgivable in my book, you deserted your President. So now go and find some other form of employment, because you do not deserve to represent me.

    November 16, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  4. dominickspez

    What a Republican dream team–Pelosi-Reid-Obama--–Are the Dems giving the Repubs 2012 on a silver platter?

    November 16, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. Chris

    Interesting. So they don't consider the fact that they were one of the most spineless groups of congress men and women in the past 20 years? They tried to play moderate to appeal to the right because they lacked the confidence it takes to stand up for what they believed in and they lost as a result. Period.

    They failed to act on a lot of issues that needed solved, they wouldn't stand up to the republicans and people saw them for what they were and got rid of a lot of them. I just hope the right has the insight to do the same thing when they realize this NEW crop will be as spineless and inactive as the last.

    Why? They sell their souls to corporations and special interests so they're too busy doing that to solve the issues their constituents are dealing with on a daily basis.

    November 16, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  6. RB from Seattle

    She is a far left loon who has no interest in the American people, only the Democratic party and her Queenship. The American people had enough and sent her packing. She is so full of herself that she did not get the message.

    November 16, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. usualone

    Maybe if the Democrats had stuck together with the plan they had been producing, and not running away from Pelosi, they may have won their seats.

    November 16, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  8. nynjct

    The best way for America, DNC, and election in 2012, Pelosi SHOULD STEP DOWN NOW, NOT IN 2012 AFTER LOST WHITE HOUSE, SENATOR AND HOUSE.

    November 16, 2010 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Part of the fall in 2010 is that the president wasn't able to get the word out about what was going on and what the Democrats had done. ANother issue is that the GOP and conservatives were able to put out their arguements much more forcefully and owned the airways in part to the unlimited spending by unamed groups. Pelosi does deserve some credit for losing the House, but she can't be blamed for the whole thing.

    November 16, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  10. Colorodan

    Um, look retards. A leader from San Francisco is NEVER a good idea. Too easy to paint as a liberal and to tar the rest of the party with that image. This is just stupidity. Oh, and I voted for Obama. The leader should always come from OHIO.
    And anyone who thought that comprehensive health care reform at this time was a good idea has no political savvy. Get rid of her, yesterday. She should really be gracious enough to step aside.

    November 16, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  11. Cooker

    As a left leaning independent, I wish she would step down as leader. I don't blame her for the huge losses, but she certainly has a tendancy to turn off voters in the middle. Too extreme for me.

    November 16, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  12. Lateefah Brown

    We have this notion of the 20th as the "American Century." A closer look at the history of governmental, religious, social, and economic movements could cast this as an outgrowth of what might be called the "European Millennium." What scares us here in the West is that both seem to have come to a screeching halt. Stronger economies such as China, Russia, India, and even Brazil are now set to dominate. We have been to busy holding onto relics of the past to adjust to the circumstances developing all around us. The economy is exactly what hurt incumbent politicians earlier this month, and I do not feel any better about the group elected to fix it. The time when smaller countries such as the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, and France dominated nations with incredibly larger populations and exploited them for their resources has ended. We need to think outside the box on our next move. Our insistence upon clinging for dear life to the laws of Keynesian economics and the centuries old theories of Adam Smith are not going to cut it in a global climate in which state-run economies now call the shots. China OWNS the U.S. (and quite a bit of Europe, by the way) right now. The invisible hand has been severed.

    November 16, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  13. KO

    Speaker Pelosi oversaw one of the most successful Congresses in recent memory in terms of passing legislation. Democrats who ran away from that didn't deserve to win. Democrats need to be proud of fighting for the American middle class and opportunity for everyone, not just the rich. They should stop running away from what they're supposed to stand for.

    November 16, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  14. marie

    I am so happy the Democrats were defeated. Allen Boyd of Fla lost due to his votes on the Health Care Bill and Cap and Trade. People in the panhandle of Fla were furious over Mr Boyds votes and that is why he lost after 14 years.

    November 16, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Jay

    Wow, we have people in Congress that still believe Pelosi was not a factor in the Dem's lose. That is why America is in trouble today. Too many Idiots in Congress and the Senate. Time to drain the swamp. Agian

    November 17, 2010 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  16. Tinkers Dam

    ......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......
    Yeah.......I guess so after that great mid-term victory. Ride that tidal wave right into the whirlpool that leads down the drain.

    November 17, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  17. Ray

    The problem is not with Pelosi. She's got more grit and resolve than any Democrat in Congress. The problem is with the Senate, who've failed to pass over 200 bills passed by the House. Harry Reid has no backbone and won't force a filibuster or reconciliation. The Republicans are in lock-high-step as usual and the fact that Nancy Pelosi has been such a target of the right shows that she's doing something right!

    November 17, 2010 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  18. Marko

    Its not Pelosi's fault. She was demonized by the repubs. East target for them. We need people like her and Reid to stand up to the repub machine. Not pansies like the blue dogs who wet their pants everytime they get the stink eye from a repub. You blue dogs look like lackey's for the repubs. Sure the Dems need moderates, but not the kind of moderate acting like a conservative just to keep their seat. The Dems need to learn how to sell their products. They had some damn good ones the past 2 years, instead of defending them from repub spinning it all to be all bad for America. repubs are heartless. They would wrestle a homeless man on the street for a quarter laying on the sidewalk.

    November 17, 2010 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  19. Aaron

    Maybe if the jokers would have fought back against Repub propaganda, they would have kept their seats. Pelosi kept hers, so the majority of her constitutents thought that she did a good job. She got Obama's priorities through Congress. Of course, he is apparently a turncoat since he is not supporting her now. Nor could he support the Dem nominee in Rhode Island. I don't want another Repub president in 2012, but a different Dem with some backbone and loyalty would be nice.

    November 17, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Stop your whining! Nancy got re-elected at 80%. This means she did here job for her district.
    Most of you were elected because of the promise of healthcare, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, reform of Wall St. and banking, and ending the war.
    Had you had the backbone to stand up for what got you elected, you would still have jobs. Take the blame you desrve for being wimps and not speaking up to defnd your votes.

    November 17, 2010 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  21. Diane

    Oh pelozi.. It's not so bad.. San Francisco still likes you.. The rest of the country never really mattered to you anyways.. 🙂

    November 17, 2010 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  22. Marvin Martin

    Any discussion by democrats to continue under Pill-osi only affirms what most of America already thinks of democratic leadership, that they're out in the Twilight Zone somewhere, and don't have a clue where they're going. At this point in time if she led them to the edge of a cliff and told them that's the only way to succeed in their agenda, yes, they're dumb enought to follow her right off the edge. If she had any, wait she doesn't have them anyways, she'd tell them she's not interested and let someone else lead the way. She won't. Remember the saying "power corrupts?"

    November 17, 2010 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  23. Not fooled

    Allen Boyd of Florida and Travis Childers of Mississippi lost their election because they weren't good enough. The Blue dog Democrats often cave too easily and are spineless according to a lot of people. They lost because of the fact that they did not back up their party or Nancy Pelosi. They did not brag about their accomplishments. Nancy is tough and effective, a real fighter with a backbone. She stays true to her principles to help the poor and middle class. That's why Republicans hate her. She is exactly what the democrats need now –now back her up. Stop being spineless and stick to what is good for the people you serve, not whether you will have a job. Or more blue dogs will be out next time. We are watching.

    November 17, 2010 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  24. Reggie

    Pelosi and her supporters have been in denial for a very long time. Remember all the angry public chants of "READ THE BILL"?

    They voted it into law without ever reading it. They still haven't read it!

    November 17, 2010 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  25. bob

    Reps. Allen Boyd, Travis Childers and Reps.Heath Shuler are all Blue Dog Conservative Democrats who voted with the Republicans on most legislation and deserved to lose. The main reason why half of the Blue Dogs lost was due to the fact most Democrats that voted for them before decided to stay home rather that have them back under the Democratic Party and have them keep siding with the GOP. Conservative Blue Dog Democrats need to be purged from the party as have moderates been purged for the GOP.

    November 17, 2010 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
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