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nancy pelosi to become first woman to lead house

Published:

WASHINGTON (Nov. 8) - Nancy Pelosi spearheaded the Democratic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, positioning herself to become the first woman to lead the chamber -- and President George W. Bush's worst political nightmare.

House Democratic leader since 2003, the California liberal framed the elections as a referendum on Bush, his unpopular Iraq war and the scandal-rocked, Republican-led House.

"Today the American people voted for change and they voted for Democrats to take our country in a new direction," Pelosi told a victory rally. "That's exactly what we intend to do.

"Mr. President, we need a new direction in Iraq," Pelosi said. "Let us work together to find a solution."

Pelosi, 66, appears certain to be elected House speaker by fellow Democrats when the new 110th Congress convenes in January, replacing Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican.

Under U.S. law, the speaker is second in the line of succession to the presidency, behind only the vice president.

Pelosi has said she will not try to end U.S. funding of the Iraq war but will pressure Bush to shift course, begin a phased redeployment of U.S. troops and require Iraqis to take greater responsibility for their own nation.

Pelosi was often ignored or even mocked by Bush during his first six years in office but the Republican president would have to work with her once she takes the gavel if he expects to get much done in his final two years.

Pelosi has promised to challenge Bush on a host of fronts, from the Iraq war and his tax cuts to education and health care.

"The only way to deal with Bush is as a co-equal branch of government," Pelosi told Reuters last month. "He's in denial."

Pelosi has rejected calls to attempt to impeach Bush and drive him from office. But she has said Democrats would hold congressional oversight hearings, which could include such matters as whether he manipulated the facts to build early support for the Iraq war.

CONGRESSIONAL CLEANUP

With a majority in the House, Democrats would chair all House committees, set the legislative agenda and have subpoena power in their investigations.

Pelosi has vowed to clean up how Congress does business in wake of influence-peddling scandals and an Internet sex scandal involving a former Republican congressman.

"Maybe it will take a woman to clean up the House and a new speaker to restore civility," Pelosi said.

Pelosi learned politics as a child a half-century ago from her father, who was mayor of Baltimore. She first ran for Congress in 1987 from her adopted hometown of San Francisco, where she raised five children with her businessman husband and served as state party chairwoman.

Republicans made Pelosi a top target in the congressional campaign, airing TV ads that attacked her in a number of states. They portrayed her as an out-of-control liberal who would increase taxes, roll back the war on terror and oppose conservative efforts to ban gay marriage and abortion.

Ethan Siegal of the Washington Exchange, a private firm that tracks Congress for institutional investors, said, "Nobody really knows how she would fare as House speaker."

As minority leader, Pelosi effectively kept House Democrats united against a number of Republican initiatives in the past year or so, Siegal said.

"But she'd have her hands full as speaker," Siegal said.

Bush took a swipe at Pelosi at a recent White House news conference. He quoted her as saying, "I love tax cuts" while nonetheless voting against many of them.

Pelosi fired back: "Democrats have long fought for middle-income tax cuts. This is in stark contrast to the Republican tax breaks for the super rich that have led to a budget that is grossly out of balance and a national debt that is morally indefensible."

Democrats have dubbed their agenda "A new direction for America." It includes raising the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, ending tax giveaways to big oil companies and implementing proposals by the 9/11 commission to secure ports and borders.

Entry #752

Comments

1.
Comment by LOTTOMIKE - November 8, 2006, 7:21 am
i'm so damn happy it hurts.lol.i already like this woman because she was the only one who stood up and supported online gambling and called out bill frist when he pulled his little slimeball tactic with the internet gambling bill.i hope she makes george bush totally miserable.bout damn time!!
2.
charh20Comment by charh20 - November 8, 2006, 2:18 pm
Totally,,,,,totally agree,,,,,,,I watched him today with the reporters and saw steam coming out of his ears he was soooo mad when they asked him a question about her,,,,,

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