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. randy

    Are you kidding me Pelosi..give it up! Get out keeping what little if any dignity you may if you ever had any. You are a target for anyone that has a minscule amount of intellegence and a main reason most people think Democrats are ..none to bright Has anyone even listened to what spews out of that piehole?? And you guys beat on Palin ? This woman(?) has Sarah beat by light years..leave your over inflated ego at the door as you leave. How about giving someone with some brains the chance to be the minority leader?

    November 17, 2010 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  2. Brainwashed by GOP

    Nancy pelosi should stay.

    The Dems need this very smart and intelligent woman who gets the jobs done.

    November 17, 2010 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  3. Fed Up

    Why? She didn't do anything wrong. She is as arrogant as Obama. They never would admit to having any faults. Vote 'em in. Vote 'em out.

    November 17, 2010 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  4. Daniel

    Allen Boyd and Travis Childers don't have Nancy Pelosi to blame for their defeats. They are "straddlers" and they voted the Republican line about 75% of the time. The voters in their districts just replaced them with real Republicans.

    November 17, 2010 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  5. CaliforniaBC

    Blame Pelosi, huh? Or was it perhaps their inability to stand up, show some cajones and defend their votes against the MASSIVE Republican misinformation campaign?

    November 17, 2010 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  6. Benjamin

    It's not Pelosi's job to get Republican-lite blue dogs re-elected. Her job is to get progressive legislation passed, and she performed her job in spades, doing more than any other Speaker in decades. Sadly, so much of that work went to the Senate to die, since a 60 vote super-majority is needed to overcome the stonewalling Republicans. The House paid dearly for the Senate's inability to act.

    November 17, 2010 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  7. Phillip

    Lol, I love Pelosi. I hope she continues to fight with fellow Dems and show just how out of touch with reality and the American people she really is. She's an absolute joke. "We have to pass the bill in order to know what's inside of it..." Lol, brilliant!

    November 17, 2010 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  8. OregonRepub

    Apparently they've learned nothing from their defeat. Stop passing the buck. You are out of office because you refused to listen to the people who put you there. You were supposed to represent your constituents. Any blame rests squarely on your own shoulders. Perhaps if you weren't so arrogant and ready to blame others for your mistakes, you'd still be in office.

    November 17, 2010 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  9. CyndyP

    We need more Pelosis in the Democratic party; I'm tired of the Republicans railroading/lying and going unchallenged. The Dems. need to grow a set and go on the offensive by attacking Repub. policies and telling it like it really is. Issa is just the latest – someone needs to go after his record and dig up the dirt on him.

    November 17, 2010 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  10. Dale

    One more example of the disconnect between the Democrats and reality. They see their losses as unrelated to anything they did or didn't do. It was only a result of the bad economy; just a random event that they had no impact on.

    November 17, 2010 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  11. mdyer

    She is reptillian.

    November 17, 2010 04:19 am at 4:19 am |
  12. Patrick F

    I vote Democrat. I am not angry at Pelosi and Reid. I am furious with Pelosi and Reid. Both of those individuals a 100% completely out of touch with the pulse of the American electorate. I believe that Obama is a 'lame duck' in his last two years of his first term not only due to his inability to act as a strong president (eg Truman, FDR, Clinton) concerning which steps to take to 'fix' the economy, but because the legislation being pushed in Congress is so incredibly Liberal. America is less than 25% Liberal, so Pelosi and Reid completely ignored the wishes of 75% of America during the last two years. Obama has not only himself to blame WHEN he loses in 2012, he has Pelosi and Reid to blame as well.

    November 17, 2010 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  13. mike

    these so call democrats that blame Pelosi were never democrats in the first place they were people that want to go to washington on the coat tales of Obama and now that they are no longer in power they want to blame everyone else for failing
    look how much work did McCain put in to winning his seat and barely pulled it off and he was running for president with palin
    look at the big picture not how the media spins it the tea party is a sore that the republicans have made and now they are out to get them look at how republicans have lost to the tea party in the primary that should have won

    November 17, 2010 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  14. Anonymous

    "There is a broad consensus that she is the person to unify us" -– So the Democrats are united, but the voters are alienated? Smart move.

    November 17, 2010 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  15. Catie

    Democrats who lost need to take accountability for their own loss.

    November 17, 2010 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  16. Ryan

    No one likes her, and even if she isn't completely to blame, she has very low popularity, and they just lost 60 seats under her leadership. But, you wouldn't want to change anything with everything going so well with her in charge. She is more partisan than anybody so if the Democrats would like to get something done they need to get someone else. I wish they had some sensible people in charge.

    November 17, 2010 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  17. russ from md

    What a dimwitted self centered back-room dealing twit. I am glad she is going to be minority leader. That way we can get the rest of America (less California, there a loss) educated that the democrats are the wrong way for this country to follow.

    November 17, 2010 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  18. Chris

    Oh please they should blame themselves. The public in fighting and not sticking together on issues that the American people wanted is why they are out of a job!! I mean let us no forget they were elected in 08 by well over 60% of the American public!!! So when you don't get things done you get voted out!! So they need to go sit down!!!

    November 17, 2010 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  19. Marie MD

    We voted pretty much democrat in my state of MD but a lot of dinos decided that it was better to hide with their tails between their legs than show up as you all should have done.
    Don't blame Pelosi because the party couldn't get their message across. while the rethugs were spewing no ideas and no solutions the democrats had plenty to be proud of . . . . . they just didn't do it.

    November 17, 2010 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  20. Triple A

    No No No, please don't kick Nancy out... We need her to defeat more Dems in 2012.

    November 17, 2010 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  21. leciat

    yeah go ahead and continue to ignore the people...continue to do everything the same...flout the healthcare bill as your biggest accomplishment continuing to ignore that the majority of americans are against it...continue the same ole song and then find someone else to blame when you loose in 2012

    November 17, 2010 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  22. keepstuffingthis

    Please don't dump Nancy, we need more Republicans in 2012 and her face alone counts for hundreds of thousands of votes. Hopefully, she will continue to call hard working, taxpaying citizens names and demeaning and degrading them. Based on her statements, she still doesn't get it and remains clueless and we need the democrat liberal party to continue to delude itself until we recapture the Senate and the Presidency.

    November 17, 2010 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  23. artraveler

    Most of the ones complaining are the DINO's that might as well been Republicans for the way they tried to ham-string every progressive move forward. Either be a Democrat or change parties. Note that most. who complain about the elites on the coasts, are living in states that willingly take more money from the federal government than their states contribute and are thus being subsidized by "those coastal elites". Pay your own share and then complain!

    November 17, 2010 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  24. Ben Ben

    No, You dems lost the election because you let mean-spirited racist Republibaggers set the agenda. IF you ahd called them out and went after then just as hard as they went after you then you might of had a chance.

    November 17, 2010 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  25. I Back Obama

    Go Pelosi GO!!!!

    November 17, 2010 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
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