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Pelosi Defends 'Eloquent' and 'Brilliant' Obama in Interview

Image: Pelosi Defends 'Eloquent' and 'Brilliant' Obama in Interview

By Cathy Burke   |   Thursday, 19 Sep 2013 11:03 PM

President Obama — under fire from Republicans and losing favor with his own party — got a gushing review from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who raved the embattled commander-in-chief was a "brilliant" and "eloquent" strategist.

In an interview with Politico Thursday, the California lawmaker said GOP scorn was simple jealousy.

“You know why it is. You know why it is," she sputtered. “He’s brilliant, … he thinks in a strategic way in how to get something done … and he’s completely eloquent. That’s a package that they don’t like.”

The 26-year veteran likened the GOP vitriol to a snobbish distaste she claimed some Republicans had for President Clinton.

“They didn’t think he was one of them … because of his upbringing and his personal story of success," she charged " … Although he had the Ivy League and the Georgetown education, he wasn’t rooted where most of the former presidents came from.”

After a phone call with Republican Speaker John Boehner, Pelosi repeatedly said she had "no idea" whether he would depend on Democratic votes to avoid default or a government shutdown — or if he had a plan that could pass with Republican votes alone.

She said what she does know is the GOP's initial plan to keep the government running past Sept. 30 — including the defunding Obamacare provision demanded by conservatives — won't fly with her caucus.

“The Speaker knows that,” she said. “I call it the tea party continuing resolution, because they are obviously driving the ship. … We can do it the hard way — well, we can do it not at all, which is the path that they’re on now...."

She added: "They don’t want our vote. I believe that the path the Republicans are on is designed to shut down government. … [T]he question is: Can they have their ideological dream come true, or will there be some voice of reason?”

Pelosi said Boehner has stated he doesn't want to default.

"But it’s one thing to say you don’t want to default, … then have all the building blocks for default put in place to do so," she railed.

With the Politico interview, Pelosi capped a week of carrying the torch for her party in the House. Earlier in the week, she penned an editorial in USAToday where she characterized Republicans as irresponsible for holding a nation hostage over raising the debt ceiling. She blamed some of the current national debt issues on weak George W. Bush administration policies.

Pelosi snapped at a question from Politico about her relevance given Democratic votes may be needed to avoid a crisis.

“I’ve not ever felt irrelevant," she said. "“I’d rather feel less relevant. I’d rather the Republicans just pick up the mantle, be responsible, pass a debt ceiling — that we can work with them more.”

As for gripes from Democrats about the president's lack of communication with them, Pelosi said it was an old complaint.

“I’ve served since President Reagan,” she said. “I don’t know any member of Congress who ever said, ‘I’m satisfied with the communication that we have from the White House.’ That’s just the way it is. … I’m very proud of the president.”

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