Nancy Pelosi Talks About the Budget Vote, Obama’s Grit, Guns and More
by Eleanor Clift Jan 11, 2013 6:00 AM EST
The House minority leader talks about the fiscal cliff vote, the president’s grit, gun control and more. By Eleanor Clift.
When fiscal cliff legislation passed with mainly Democratic votes, Republicans griped, “Who’s the Speaker?” It was humiliating for the GOP majority to play the handmaiden to minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Asked if the lopsided vote makes her the de facto Speaker of the House, Pelosi demurred, coyly saying “not quite,” and reveling in her renewed clout. After the Democrats failed to regain control of the House in last year’s election, Pelosi appeared headed for a largely symbolic role as leader of the minority party in a chamber where the majority rules with an iron hand.
Republican infighting turned that assumption on its head with Pelosi suddenly looking stronger and more relevant than anybody anticipated, and not just because of Democratic votes that avoided the fiscal cliff. Unlike her counterpart on the Republican side, Pelosi is a leader with a firm lock on her caucus.
Her decision to stay on as leader after falling short in the 2012 election was all about what she wanted. No other Democrat would have dared to mount a challenge.
Pelosi is more Baltimore than San Francisco, taught by her five older brothers at an early age to sing “Hail to the Redskins,” though she professes love for her adopted city’s home team, too. “I always like to consider myself the toughest person in the room,” she says with obvious delight, adding, “I don’t go there to do that, but that’s what usually happens.”