CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Pelosi Chosen as Leader of House Democrats
Aired November 14, 2002 - 12:36 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Nancy Pelosi about to speak to reporters, now the Democratic leader.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning. My colleagues just bestowed upon me the great honor to be the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. They did so in across-the- board, overwhelming vote of support, and I'm very, very honored. I was honored by my campaign manager, Jack Murtha, who chaired my campaign. I was honored...
I was honored by those who placed my name in nomination, including Dave Obey and Hilda Solis, who are here, and Dutch Rupersberger (ph) from Baltimore, new member.
Any other nominators out here?
It is a staggering honor, there is no question about it, but to follow in the footsteps of Dick Gephardt is a very special privilege indeed.
Dick Gephardt has led our party in the Congress with great intellect, with great dignity, and he has set a very high standard for us to work on behalf of the American people.
Probably in a little bit he'll be coming out. We're having a couple of other elections right now. But I hope that over and over again I can pay tribute to him for his public service, and I know in that regard that there is much more to come. Much more to come.
Here he is.
To Dick Gephardt.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D), MISSOURI: We are so excited about this election. Nancy Pelosi will do a fabulous job. She already has for our caucus.
And we're all excited about her leadership. She won this on her merit and her leadership capability, and I am confident that with her leadership, we're going to win back the House in 2004.
PELOSI: Thank you very much. Thank you, Dick.
Thank you. I'm glad to be joined here by Harold Ford, a worthy opponent. Congratulations on your campaign, Harold. I look forward to working with you.
My first act as minority leader is to recommend to the caucus, as the assistant to the minority leader, an elected position, the name of John Spratt to fill that post. John Spratt is a person who enjoys an impeccable reputation among our colleagues for the kind of person he is and the caliber of work he does as the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee.
My theme as leader will be safety and soundness for the American people. The safety: to promote the common defense. John Spratt brings great credentials from the Armed Services Committee, on which he has served since 1982. He has been a leader in protecting the American people and working for our men and women in uniform.
He has also been a leader on the Budget Committee, and that speaks to the soundness of our country. We want to promote, to develop a Democratic message that promotes economic growth, giving the opportunity to all Americans to participate in that success. We could not be better served...
BLITZER: Nancy Pelosi is now the leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Congress, elected overwhelmingly, a vote, 177, in favor of her, 29 for her opponent, Harold Ford, the young Congressman from Tennessee.
Nancy Pelosi saying this is a staggering honor, the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. Congress, the first woman to serve as a leader of a major political party. You heard Dick Gephardt, her predecessor, say that he hopes and believes she can lead the Democratic Party back to the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives over the next two years. He tried for eight years to do that. He didn't manage to succeed.
Now it's up to Nancy Pelosi to see if she can do what Dick Gephardt was unable to do.
Nancy Pelosi, now the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.
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