A confident House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Monitor Lunch

She discussed party unity and Obama's VP nominee during the session with reporters.

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Democrats are heading into their national convention this week with their about-to-be nominee Barack Obama stalled in the polls and the hurts of a bitter primary fight not yet healed. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicts that they will leave Denver united and ready to win.

“I am very sure that we will leave this convention with all the enthusiasm in the world and greatest unity... a campaign ready to win in November and to govern in January,” she said at a Saturday lunch for reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

What’s driving the spirit of unity in the Democratic Party is prospect of the alternative – four more years of Bush policies in a John McCain administration.

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“He is associated with an administration that has taken us into a war, into debt, downturn in the economy, mortgage crisis, energy crisis. There isn’t an area of public policy that this administration has not failed in and the country cannot take four ore years of this,” she said.

The choice of Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware as the No. 2 on the Democratic ticket, is a plus, says Pelosi, who is the Permanent chair of the Democratic Convention.

“Joe Biden is the all-American boy, and his place on this ticket is one that enhances the ticket in terms of how it will govern come January [and] also increases our prospect for success.”

The first responsibility of any elected official is to protect the American people, and that’s a great Biden strength, she said. In his six terms in the US Senate, Biden led the fight for a crime bill to keep Americans safe in their homes. More recently, he’s focused on restoring America’s rightful place in the world, she said.

“He’s a person who knows every leader in every capital in the foreign world, and they know him,” she says.
“From the standpoint of public safety in our country, we couldn’t be better served than to have Joe Biden on this ticket.

So, how does a longtime Washington insider fit into the Obama campaign theme of change? “Just because you are experienced doesn’t mean you are stuck in the status quo in Washington DC,” she shot back.

Moreover Biden, known for taking Amtrak home to Delaware every night the Senate is in session, is no Washington insider, she added. “Anybody who has watched Joe Biden – and I know many of you have over the years – know that he is the iconoclast in terms of the status quo in Washington.”

She brushed aside a question on a statement Biden made about his wife Jill’s looks [“drop dead gorgeous”] and the “problem” of her having a doctorate degree. “Lighten up folks. We have a planet to save. Nothing less is at stake than civilization as we know it today,” she said.

“The fact is there is so much at stake, and if Senator Biden happens to find his wife attractive, that is A-OK with me.”

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