News / USA

    Nancy Pelosi Makes History as Powerful House Speaker

    Multimedia

    Cindy Saine

    Nancy Pelosi has won broad recognition as an effective Speaker of the House of Representatives.  But she is also the target of opposition Republicans trying to win back control of the House in this November's congressional elections.

    Nancy Pelosi made history on January 4, 2007 when she was sworn in as the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in its 218-year history.

    The mother of five invited the children and grandchildren of House members, including her own eight grandchildren, to join her.

    Nancy Pelosi talked about her background at a street-name-changing ceremony in her honor in Baltimore, Maryland.

    "I was born and raised in Baltimore, where my father was mayor, and we were raised in a family that was devoutly Catholic, deeply patriotic, extremely proud of our Italian-American heritage, extremely proud of that, and in our case, staunchly Democratic," she said.

    As a child, the young Nancy learned hard-nosed political skills from her politician father.

    Democratic pollster and Pelosi advisor, Celinda Lake:

    "Politics was certainly not something that was new to her," said Lake.  "I don't know if she ever aspired to be arguably the most powerful woman in the United States today, and one of the most successful. Because she has really organized that Democratic Party and gotten them to do things in the House that no one else could do and that people said was impossible in this day and age in politics."

    One of the things Pelosi got done as Speaker, that Democrats had been trying to do for more than 70 years, is to pass sweeping health care reform.  Lake says Pelosi was clearly the driving force in the effort.

    "And when other people wanted to cave in, when people wanted to say, including a very powerful man in our party said, 'let's just do children's health care and let's come back at it another day,' she said no, this country needs health care reform, we are going to take on the insurance industry, we are going to get it done," noted Lake.

    Republican political strategist Terry Nelson agrees that Pelosi was the key to passing health care reform, but points out that she is a polarizing figure for many conservatives.  

    "Her unfavorable rating is usually in the high 40s to low 50s, which, for a speaker of the House is really, really extraordinary," said Nelson.  "I mean Speakers of the House tend to be, they are obviously important figures, but they tend not to be extraordinarily well-know across the country.  With Nancy Pelosi, a lot of people know who she is and they have strong feelings about her."

    Nelson says Pelosi is so unpopular among conservatives because she represents one of the most left-leaning, heavily Democratic districts of the country, San Francisco, California.  And he says she is not known for reaching out to Republicans.

    "That has never been the case," he added.  "When I worked on the Hill it wasn't the case and I don't think it has developed since then.  So I think that those two things kind of together, her own perspectives on the world, her lack of relationships on the other side have made for a divisive kind of leadership, that has come out of the House.  And it has stood in contrast to the way Barack Obama campaigned in 2008."

    Some analysts say that Speaker Pelosi and President Barack Obama complement each other, with her tough, behind-the-scenes way of getting things done, and his gift for inspiring many with his public speeches. The two still have a lot more they want to accomplish, including financial reform, immigration reform, and climate change legislation.

    To do this, Pelosi has to try to hold on to the Democrats' current majority in the House of Representatives when the entire House is up for re-election this November.  

    If the Republicans do win back the majority, she will no longer be Speaker. But her place in history will be secure as the first female speaker, and the one who helped pushed health care legislation through Congress.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora