A classic interview from soon to be former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in the New York Times Magazine:
As the speaker of the House of Representatives, where Democrats just lost 60-odd seats as well as their controlling majority, you led your party into the worst electoral defeat in decades. And yet you chose to run for Democratic leader in the next Congress. Why not just step down?
Well, don’t forget that I led the party into the strong victories of ’06 and ’08. And now we are prepared to win again.
Your decision surprised many Democrats, who say you’re a poor communicator.
The thing is, I keep saying — show me all these men who are very communicative!
Ha. What about John Boehner, the Ohio Republican who is expected to succeed you as House speaker in January? Did you see him tearing up on election night as he addressed his supporters?
You know what? He is known to cry. He cries sometimes when we’re having a debate on bills. If I cry, it’s about the personal loss of a friend or something like that. But when it comes to politics — no, I don’t cry. I would never think of crying about any loss of an office, because that’s always a possibility, and if you’re professional, then you deal with it professionally.
O.K., but you could admit to having deep emotions about your setback in the House.
I have deep emotions about the American people. If I were to cry for anything, I would cry for them and the policies that they’re about to face.
Are you referring to the repeal of the health reform law, which the Republican leadership is threatening to do?
That’s why I ran. That’s one of the reasons I ran for leader — to fight any changes. Any undermining of the health care bill, of the Wall Street reform bill, of the consumer protection bill — I’ll fight that.
In what ways is politics harder for women than men?
For example, when I became the speaker, we won 30 seats. It was a victorious thing — I was the first woman speaker. It didn’t get that much play. And I’m not a publicity seeker, so it was O.K. with me. Boehner, before the election, they had him on the cover of Newsweek. Now he’s on the cover of Time, and women are coming to me and saying, “Is the job less important when a woman holds it?”
I’m sure you were on the cover of Newsweek and Time when you became Madame Speaker.