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Pelosi Nixes Idea of Serving Again as Speaker

By    |   Friday, 30 Aug 2013 01:46 PM

When it comes to being House Speaker, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she's been there, done that, and doesn't want a repeat visit anytime soon.

In a wide-ranging interview with National Journal, the California Democrat rejected the idea of another shot at the speaker position.

"No, that's not my thing. I did that," Pelosi responded.

The apparent disinterest in her old job kicked up a commotion with her communications staff, CNN noted.

"Do you want to be speaker again?" the edited question read in the National Journal.

Drew Hammill, her communications director, said the full question was "Do you wish for the chance for the Speakership again for yourself?"

And her answer "simply meant she doesn't 'wish' to be Speaker as she has already served as Speaker for four years" and further, that she has no plans to step down from her seat, he said in a statement to CNN.

In fact, Pelosi has lost none of her fire when it comes to the GOP, which she told the National Journal has lost its way — and its leadership.

"[The Republicans'] agenda is nothing, and their timetable is never," Pelosi said, adding she wished the lack of agreement in Congress "could be different."

"Here's what I have to say to my Republican friends out there: Take back your party," she told the National Journal. "This isn't the Grand Old Party that used to have such great leadership.

"The name 'Republican' in some ways has been hijacked by obstructionists. They are nowhere on the spectrum of trying to get the job done, and they claim the name without bringing to it the greatness, the leadership of the past."

Pelosi said there was no reason lawmakers "can't be coming to some agreements" on issues like a short-term budget, a debt ceiling and immigration — and she called the inaction "Groundhog Day Central ... It's not productive. It's a waste of the taxpayers' dollar. It's a waste of our time. And it's time that's not working [for] the American people."

Pelosi put the blame on an intractable group of "obstructionists" — "it's more than 20," she said — for the congressional gridlock.

There's a way through the impasse, she said.

"If they are willing to govern, we can find compromise," she said. "Not if they are just going to hold their ideological position and say, 'We can be irresponsible because the Democrats are going to be responsible.'"

Yet Pelosi said she believed the House would "work its will" on immigration.

"If the speaker wants to do it in pieces, that's OK with us," she said. "But we're not going away. There's a confidence about the inevitability of it on our side that is up against the inconceivability of it to them ...

"As Abraham Lincoln said, public sentiment is everything — and the public is speaking out on this one."

Pelosi snapped at a question as to whether House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, was stuck with "an unwieldy caucus."

"I don't comment on their caucus, their leadership, or the rest of it," she said. "He's the speaker of the House. I respect the job. The position that he holds is a very exalted one. I wish his members would respect his position as much as I do."

She also said she wouldn't "get in sniping at the Republicans on how they do their business," preferring to talk instead "about how it affects the American people."

Pelosi said this summer break and town hall meetings were "different" than in 2009, when Democrats, she maintained, "saved the Affordable Care Act."

"Democrats saved an initiative that we can now take pride in," she said. "It's a different kind of a year this year. It's a calmer debate, and the heat is really more on immigration."

Pelosi held the House Speaker spot from 2007 to 2011 after several years as minority leader. When Republicans regained control of the House, she returned to her role as minority leader.

First elected in 1987, the outspoken Pelosi has become an icon of liberalism, her critics say.


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When it comes to being House Speaker, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she's been there, done that, and doesn't want a repeat visit anytime soon. In a wide-ranging interview with National Journal, the California Democrat rejected the idea of another shot at the speaker position.
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