Pelosi intends to remain Democratic leader
November 14th, 2012
04:13 PM ET
10 years ago

Pelosi intends to remain Democratic leader

Washington (CNN) - After keeping colleagues and most of her aides in the dark about her post-election plans for more than a week, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi finally told House Democrats she intended to run again for her post. The official vote isn't until after Thanksgiving, but Pelosi will likely get overwhelming support from her colleagues.

After Pelosi revealed her plans at a closed-door caucus meeting on Wednesday, House Democrats cheered loudly and chants of "two more years" erupted in the room, according to several sources in attendance.

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At a post-meeting news conference, Pelosi stood among dozens of female House Democrats, including members who won re-election and those newly elected last week, and noted the record numbers of women elected in 2012, saying, "this picture is worth millions of votes."

The California Democrat emphasized repeatedly that having a female voice in a top position in Congress and increasing the ranks of women in Congress were major factors playing into her decision to stay.

"For some people in the general public, the thought of four men at that table was not an appealing sight," Pelosi said, alluding to the top congressional leadership posts all being filled by men, but then she quickly added, "however excellent they may all be."

Ever since Pelosi became the first female House speaker in 2007 and "shattered the marble ceiling" - as she frequently said at the time - she stressed an agenda of policy proposals that she hoped would empower women. An aide close to Pelosi noted that on the same date 10 years ago, Pelosi was the first woman elected to lead a political party in Congress.

In deciding to remain as Democratic leader for another term she made it clear she thought she had more work to do on behalf of women. "I'm not satisfied – we want more," she said.

The lead up to her announcement became one of Capitol Hill's biggest post-election guessing games – reporters asking aides, other Democratic leaders, as well as rank and file members and all getting virtually the same answer over and over – no one knew. Many had theories, but admitted they had little real information.

Even those who talked directly to Pelosi about it said she was keeping her own counsel. It was a repeat of a similar episode two years ago when Democrats were swept out of power and Pelosi considered whether she would stay on. She surprised most political observers when she decided to run for the top position of the House Democratic Caucus after her biggest accomplishments – health care and the stimulus – were rejected by voters.

Pelosi told reporters she made her final decision on Tuesday, after talking with colleagues and her family. She said her children encouraged her to stay, while her brother Tommy, who is a former mayor of Baltimore, wasn't as enthusiastic.

In a sign of how closely held the decision was, a longtime aide to Pelosi told CNN that the Democratic leader's own staff didn't know for sure what she would say until she spoke at the morning caucus meeting. Multiple Democrats entering the meeting asked reporters what they had heard.

Rep Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat who was in line for the top post if Pelosi opted to step down from leadership, told CNN that he learned of Pelosi's intentions Wednesday morning, before Pelosi shared them with the full caucus. He said he wasn't surprised, "I think most people expected her to stay." On Wednesday, Hoyer announced he would run again for his current post of Democratic whip, one he's expected to retain with broad support.

Despite falling short of her goal to recover 25 House seats from Republicans and retake control of the House in last week's election, Pelosi argued Democrats still won because they added to their overall numbers in the House and the country re-elected President Barack Obama, a Democrat. "From the standpoint of victory in the polls I wouldn't think of walking away," she said.

Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings told reporters that it was important to have a female in a leadership role after women's issues were such a flashpoint in the presidential election and with more female members getting elected to Congress. But he also said Democrats wanted Pelosi's influence in upcoming talks on major issues like the fiscal cliff.

"I think she will play a crucial role in bringing a progressive role to all of these negotiations. I think a lot of people were concerned, and they want to make sure that voice has heard and hers is one that has been so effective over the years," Cummings said.

Pelosi insisted wielding power from a leadership post in the minority party "was no problem at all." Citing Obama's re-election and losses among some of the Republicans that swept Democrats out of power in 2010, she said this tenure in the post as Democratic leader would be better than her time in the job over the past two years.

"It's better than the last term. The anti-government ideologues – some of them are gone and that message has largely been rejected by the American people," Pelosi said.

Filed under: House • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. WiredweirdinSF

    She is like Obozo, a complete incompetent failure that can't let go of the spotlight. We are anit goverment idealouges? Which is it Nancy are we that or astro turf. I guess either way, we don't count for nothing except the tax money you steal from us to give to the welfare frauds, dope addicts and corrupt unions (Obama voters).

    November 14, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. just sayin

    the far left progressive/liberal/socailist west coast loon wants be the face of the democrats in the house? coming from the democrat controlled bankrupt state of california uniquely qualifies her to guide the countyr down the same rat hole. an early christmas present for the republcians this year.

    November 14, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. it must be said

    that's a mighty fine group of baby killers you got them dems...

    November 14, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "the welfare frauds, dope addicts and corrupt unions (Obama voters)."

    Haha. Your parenthetical is so cute I could just cut you up into little pieces and feed you into an industrial paper shredder.

    Hint: Did you really think people wouldn't understand who you were attempting to belittle given the nature of your ignorant screed?

    November 14, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Loyal Dem Here

    C'mon Nancy, time for some new blood in there. Thanks for all you've done but it is time to move along.

    November 14, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |

    Sniffit said, ""the welfare frauds, dope addicts and corrupt unions (Obama voters)."

    Haha. Your parenthetical is so cute I could just..."
    why are you using big words like 'parenthetical'???
    You know the opposition doesn't understand BIG words like that!
    Be like CNN and dumb it down so the small minded hater can understand you

    carry on

    November 14, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. David

    Thank God. Imagine having that boring Hoyer as minority leader and Clyburn is even worse.

    November 14, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. RogueRobots

    Thanks to Nancy for representing women's interests. Thanks to the voters across the country who elected women to Congress.

    November 14, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. amf140

    And to think that she at one time was 2 heartbeats away. Now that is a scary thought.

    Time for Ms Nancy to fade into the sunset and go back to her millions of $$$$ in California. No crony caitalism with her. RIGHT!!!!

    November 14, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Jeff in Virginia

    Where is the mention of Luke Russert's insanely hypocritical question-that-was-more-like-an-insult? What a nepotistic hack.

    November 14, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. Eugene9

    Nancy Pelosi is a tough worker and perfect for the job at this time. If it wasn't for GOP gerrymandering, the Democrats would have a majority in the House as well as the Senate. They got a majority of all the votes cast for House candidates. The GOP hates Pelosi because they can't take any strong women who oppose their views.

    November 14, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. cj90210

    Wow, just look at all the hate posted here! And the GOP wonders why it lost this election... While I agree it's probably time for Nancy to go, I have nothing bad to say about her and I certainly wish her well. As for the baby killer comment, well you so called pro lifers just don't get it: STAY OUT OF OUR BEDROOMS PLEASE! If you don't want an abortion don't have one and move to a red state where some of the poorest people live and take the most in federal aid...

    November 14, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. it must be said

    was it ever detemined just how many millions that pelosi and her family made off of insider trading? the unwashed masses go to jail for those things. she and her family lined their pockets. she should be in jail, not congress.

    November 14, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. David Ridge

    In all fairness, I was to understand that the position of Speaker went to the leader of the party that held a SIMPLE MAJORITY (emphasis added) in The House, the fifty-one percent.

    November 14, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. Ed1

    Wow at 72 she still doesn't know when it's time to turn the keys over to a younger more in tune person.

    I guess she still isn't finished yet of giving all of our tax dollars to people who know nothing else but handouts. It's people like her that's wrong with our government. We need term limits more now than ever before and get back to what made this Country great and it wasn't career elected officials time to bring all of them home and see what it's really like to have to work for your money.

    I think if I had to work with people like her I would go back to drinking at least you can drink a person pretty most of the time.

    November 14, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Ed1


    As far as abortions go it has nothing to do with what goes on in the bedrooms it's about tax dollars spent on abortions how about taking responsibility for your actions why should I have to pay for you doing something stupid if you don't want children get fixed or stop having sex.

    Just remember abortions kill and no abortions don't. Take responsibility for your actions we shouldn't have to.

    November 14, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. it must be said


    then please stop asking for us to pay for your birth control and abortions.

    November 14, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. Laughing

    Absolutely hilarious. Libs talk about the Republicans being a party of old white people but look at the Dems leadership in Congress.....old Plasticface Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid....all old white people. Plasticface keeping her post is the best thing to happen to America, a great symbol of obstructionism and stupidity ("we have to pass the bill so we can find out what's in it") to campaign against in the 2014 election.

    November 14, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Lynn Beddow

    Good for Minority Leader Pelosi! As for the ignorant journalist and his offensive question, try researching Former President Reagan's age while in office.

    November 14, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. geggyg

    @David Ridge
    You are correct , Boehner will be House Speaker if he wants it again, Pelosi will only be House minority leader ( which is what the story said) that is leader of the democrats in the house.

    November 14, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Workers Unite

    Spell it with me now, P-O-W-E-R !
    This lady is such a waste of our time and money.

    November 14, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  22. Ancient Texan

    I was sure in hopes that her broom was warming up prior to take-off back to California.

    November 14, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  23. n

    I like Nancy! 🙂

    November 15, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |