Why Nancy Pelosi wants to stay on as House minority leader
Rep. Nancy Pelosi is set to preside over the most diverse House Democratic Caucus in history, with a majority being women and minorities. But her continuation was the subject of GOP scrutiny.
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Pelosi’s return to leadership was the subject of some scrutiny, given her party’s inability to retake the House in 2012 and the fact that the longtime leaders of the House Democrats are of increasing age, potentially stalling the political advancement of younger party members.Skip to next paragraph
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Pelosi, perhaps the second most powerful fundraiser among Democratic elected officials behind the president himself, is also politically controversial: She was vilified by Republicans during their successful romp in the 2010 elections as the epitome of Washington liberalism, and afterward she faced a leadership challenge from blue dog Democrat Heath Shuler of North Carolina on the grounds that she had made Democrats unelectable in conservative territory.
On Wednesday, Pelosi’s announcement to continue in leadership was greeted with a Bronx cheer by Republicans.
“There is no better person to preside over the most liberal House Democratic Caucus in history than the woman who is solely responsible for relegating it to a prolonged minority status,” said Paul Lindsay, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement. “This decision signals that House Democrats have absolutely no interest in regaining the trust and confidence of the American people who took the Speaker’s gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the first place.”
At the press conference Wednesday, Pelosi called a question about whether she and other septuagenarian members of the House Democratic leadership – minority whip Steny Hoyer, assistant leader James Clyburn, and Pelosi are all in their early 70s – should step aside to allow younger leaders room to move up “offensive.” Her colleagues on staged booed and called out “age discrimination.”
“Everything that I have done in this decade now of leadership has been to elect younger and newer people to the Congress,” Pelosi, who became the House minority leader 10 years ago, said.
“No,” she concluded on stepping aside. “The answer is no.”