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Nancy Pelosi's Next Move Uncertain

Helen Tobin |
November 4, 2010 | 11:17 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

What's next for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the Democrats lost control of the House in Tuesday's election?

The California Democrat has not made any announcements about her future since Republicans took over the House majority on Election Night, effectively ending Pelosi’s four year reign as Speaker.  Now she must decide whether to stay or go, and all of Washington is waiting for her decision.

Nancy Pelosi (Creative Commons)
Nancy Pelosi (Creative Commons)
On Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi sat down with ABC's Diane Sawyer in her only TV interview, telling the anchor she had, “no regrets” from pursuing an aggressive agenda during her tenure as Speaker.  Pelosi, the first female to hold the position, said she will meet with members of her caucus and her family before making any decisions about the future.        

Instant opinions varied in Washington as Republicans celebrated their victory and Democrats reviewed the numbers again and again, trying to understand the brutal defeat.  Some believe Pelosi should still have a role in Democratic politics, while others expect the 70-year-old to retire and head home to San Francisco. 

If she decides to stay, Pelosi could run for minority leader in the next congress.  Current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who would likely become Minority Leader if Pelosi steps aside, met with her for two hours Wednesday.  Afterward, neither party would say what was discussed.  Hoyer did acknowledge that his plans depend on Pelosi’s decision.

“If the speaker doesn’t run, yes,” Hoyer told CQ-Roll Call when asked if he would seek to become Democratic leader if Pelosi’s retires.

For now, Democrats will wait patiently for an announcement from Pelosi, who led reporters on a slow chase around Washington Wednesday as she took meetings but no questions. 

“I’ll let you know,” Pelosi told reporters after her interview with Sawyer. 

Pelosi did tell Sawyer that she and incoming Speaker John Boehner are, “good friends.” 

Boehner will take over as Speaker of the House in January, at which time Pelosi may decide she’s had enough of the Washington grind and could choose pursue other opportunities outside the Beltway.    

For Pelosi, life after congress may come in two months or in two years.  Washington will have to wait and see.

Reach Reporter Helen Tobin here.



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