Monitor Breakfast

Selected quotations from a Monitor Breakfast with House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi.

House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi comes from a family with a history of public service. Her father was a member of the House of Representatives and later served as mayor of Baltimore. Her brother was also Baltimore's mayor.

She has five grown children, including videographer Alexandra Pelosi, who produced "Journeys with George," a documentary of President Bush's presidential campaign.

Congresswoman Pelosi is a true pioneer. More than 12,000 people have served in Congress since the beginning of the republic. Only 215 have been women, and Nancy Pelsoi is the first to become one of the top leaders in the House.

On whether the president needs congressional approval before attacking Iraq:

"I think that he does. I am just saying that he may decide that he doesn't, and go forward anyway.

On the content of congressional resolutions on the Middle East:

"I would hope that any resolution that went to the floor that talked about the tragedy that has occurred in the Middle East [and] that calls for a safe and secure Israel would recognize that that can only happen with a Palestinian state."

On where Democrats may pick up House seats in the 2002 election:

"We need six to win. We will certainly pick up one in California. The increase in the Hispanic population numbers in the last census gives us opportunity in the Rocky Mountain West and in California. Our seat will be an Hispanic seat and it will be Democratic. That will be one. Then in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada – in those four states we expect to pick up seats.

"I always count conservatively...I always count brutally conservatively. ...In Georgia there is a possibility of winning four seats. Say we win three, say we win two – but we will gain seats. ...We will do well in Maryland. We will pick up something in New England – we have three prospects, I know we will at least get one of those and possibly two and hopefully three."

On prospects for President Bush to take California in 2004:

"I don't think their prospects are good. However, I am ever vigilant about not creating any opportunity for them to have any success at any level of races that we are running for.

"Last time, we won five of the seven seats needed to take back the House in California and we did it on the ground. And that is how we are going to win the House, on the ground, in the rest of the country this time. I think that ground operation nationwide is what the president knows can be his undoing in 2004.

"If the Democrats win the house, it says something politically about what is going on in the country – how well organized the Democrats can be. And, of course, it creates an arena where we can have a real debate about the issues in Congress, put bills on his desk where the public can see where he really is – rather than just having the rhetoric without the resources to match them..."

On the impact of Karen Hughes' plan to leave her job as the highest ranking woman at the White House:

"I think the president has lost a lot with Karen Hughes (leaving), and therefore all of us, because she is such a tremendous resource to him. I think that all of these decisions are very individual. I don't know how much you can transfer the Karen Hughes decision and experience over to statements about women in high levels of government that weren't quite obvious before that.

"(High government positions are)...very, very difficult. It is almost an insatiable beast in terms of the demands on time...You know how arbitrary the timing can be and how there is no way to say we are going to be family friendly and be home by a certain hour.

"...What is interesting to me is the response I have received from young women on this. They are unhappy. They are unhappy because they think – and some of them have expressed to me and some in the media have expressed to me – concern that this means that women by and large can only go so far if they have a family and that the obstacles are insurmountable.

"By the time I came to Congress my children were grown and I could never have done it any other way. I admire those who can – this is no judgment on them. I admire those who can, but it is difficult.

"But again, I think you have to take it on a case-by-case basis. Karen, I think, will not be turning off her cell phone. ...I know she will be a constant resource to the president. But when you are not in the White House other people fill in...

"I don't think anybody will ever replace her as far as her relationship with President Bush. But I think we have to be careful about drawing conclusions because some of them would be a bit discouraging to young woman and we have to view this as an individual (case) but illustrative of the problem..."

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