Pelosi Accuses NBC of Trying to ‘Undermine My Prospects as Speaker’

It’s not unusual to hear a prominent politician accusing NBC News of bias. However, when that politician is Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and she’s accusing NBC of bias while appearing on MSNBC, it stands out. She made the claim on Sunday’s AM Joy, laughably arguing that the friendly broadcast network was out to get her.

Filling in for anchor Joy Reid, liberal Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart conducted an exclusive interview with the Democratic leader. While most of the exchange consisted of softball questions, Capehart did press her on an NBCNews.com story listing dozens of members of her own party vowing to oppose her as speaker if they win the House majority in the midterm elections:

 

 

Now, though, NBC News has a story about all the Democrats who are running, who are running for election this year, interviewed – you see it there, “Democrats opposing Pelosi.” And these are the 51 people who are surveyed who are candidates. Forty-two of them are Democratic nominees, nine of them are incumbents, who have said that they will not support you in the run for speaker...Well, one, why not, if the Democrats take back the House, give up the gavel? Give it to a new generation of leaders?  

Pelosi immediately dismissed the serious challenge to her leadership: “Well, first of all, let me just say this, and I know NBC has been on a jag of this, this is one of their priorities, to undermine my prospects as speaker.” After attacking her liberal media allies, she then claimed it was really just a Republican plot:

I do not think our opponents should select the leaders of our party. The Republicans are spending millions, tens of millions of dollars against me, because they’re afraid of me. Because I out-raise them in the political arena, because I outsmart them at the negotiating table, and because I’m a woman who’s going to be a seat at that table.

Pelosi added: “Now, I do believe that none of us is indispensable, but I think I’m the best person for the job.”

Before the interview ended, Capehart raised the prospect of her not running for speaker: “Final question, do you foresee a situation or a possibility where you would decide not to seek the speakership if Democrats were to win the majority in the midterms?” She shot back: “Again, that is the least important question of all, with all due respect. It’s an NBC question, I know, because that’s a jag you all are on.”

Perhaps that would be true if NBC actually covered its own story. The report has been posted on NBCNews.com and MSNBC has covered it sporadically, but NBC News has so far ignored the bad news for Pelosi. The closest anyone on NBC came to mentioning it was Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet the Press, who briefly noted: “But there is a growing number of lawmakers who say that [they won’t vote for Pelosi]. Is she gonna be speaker if Democrats take control?” Though he never actually cited the story itself.

(H/t Washington Free Beacon)

Here are excerpts of the August 13 interview on AM Joy:

10:41 AM ET

(...)

JONATHAN CAPEHART [WASHINGTON POST]: Now I said a couple of times, “If Democrats take back the majority.” You said, “When Democrats take back the majority.” If the Democrats do take back the majority they will be in need of a speaker.

NANCY PELOSI: There we go.

CAPEHART: And you are the focal point of that discussion because you were Speaker of the House when Democrats took back control officially in 2007, you were the first woman Speaker of the House. Now, though, NBC News has a story about all the Democrats who are running, who are running for election this year, interviewed – you see it there, “Democrats opposing Pelosi.” And these are the 51 people who are surveyed who are candidates. Forty-two of them are Democratic nominees, nine of them are incumbents, who have said that they will not support you in the run for speaker.

PELOSI: Well, let me just say, first of all –

CAPEHART: Well, one, why not, if the Democrats take back the House, give up the gavel? Give it to a new generation of leaders?  

PELOSI: Well, first of all, let me just say this, and I know NBC has been on a jag of this, this is one of their priorities, to undermine my prospects as speaker. But putting that aside, I have not asked one person for a vote. I haven’t asked a candidate or an incumbent for a vote. What’s important, I know better than anybody how important it is for us to win this election because I see up close and personal what the Republicans and this president are doing.

I do not think our opponents should select the leaders of our party. The Republicans are spending millions, tens of millions of dollars against me, because they’re afraid of me. Because I out-raise them in the political arena, because I outsmart them at the negotiating table, and because I’m a woman who’s going to be a seat at that table. And that, for me, is very important. If Hillary Clinton had won and had sat at the head of that table, it would be different, but I’m not yielding that.

Now, I do believe that none of us is indispensable, but I think I’m the best person for the job. And I won’t let the Republican ads, which are just flooding these districts – and I say to candidates, “Do whatever you have to do, just win, baby.” I know one in five children in America lives in poverty, we must win this. When the caucus decides, it will decide whose name they will send to the floor. Only then, after the election, will I ask people for their support.

(...)

CAPEHART: Final question, do you foresee a situation or a possibility where you would decide not to seek the speakership if Democrats were to win the majority in the midterms?

PELOSI: Again, that is the least important question of all, with all due respect. It’s an NBC question, I know, because that’s a jag you all are on. What’s important is that I’m staying focused on winning this election. I’m not even thinking about what happens next because what is important to the country is that we take it back for the American people and that means winning the House for the Democrats. And hopefully, winning the Senate, the governorships, and all the rest. So it’s not important as to what happens about me after, what’s important is what happens at the polls and what that means in the lives of the American people.

But they’re afraid. They’re afraid that we’re going to have so many women coming in, it’s gonna – many more people of color. I remind you that our House Democratic Caucus is a majority of women, people of color, and LGBTQ. And that number will only increase when we win in this election. That’s frightening to some people in our country.

(...)

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