House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has the “overwhelming support” of fellow Democrats in her bid to become minority leader in the next Congress, and says she’s not to blame for the Democrats’ mid-term debacle.
“We didn’t lose the election because of me,” Ms. Pelosi told National Public Radio in aninterview that aired Friday morning. “Our members do not accept that.”
Instead, the California Democrat attributes the loss of at least 60 seats to high unemployment and “$100 million of outside, unidentified funding.”
“Any party that cannot turn (9.5% unemployment) into political gains should hang up the gloves,” she said.
The NPR interview is one of the first Ms. Pelosi has granted since a small-but-growing number of Democrats began publicly lamenting her decision to seek the top job in the minority. That list even includes some loyal allies, such as Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.
Among those rooting for Ms. Pelosi to stick around are Republicans, who are giddy at the prospect of reprising in 2012 the attacks they used in the past election cycle, tying Democratic incumbents around the country to the liberal from San Francisco.
Ms. Pelosi’s reply: Bring it on. “The reason they had to take me down is because I’ve been effective in fighting special interests in Washington, D.C.,” Ms. Pelosi said, citing the health insurance and financial services industries. “I’m effective. They had to take me out. I’m also the most significant attractor to support for the Democrats.”
“So, I’m not looking back on this,” Ms. Pelosi said. “They asked me to run, I’m running. We don’t let the Republicans choose our leaders, and again, our members understand, they made me a target because I’m effective, politically and policy-wise.”