The Baltimore Sun wasn’t alone in promoting Nancy Pelosi, not even among its fellow newspapers in the Tribune publishing group. On Monday, in a story headlined "Pelosi Piques Public's Interest," Los Angeles Times reporter Faye Fiore portrayed Pelosi as an object of public fascination:
As Pelosi prepares to be sworn in Jan. 4 as the first female speaker of the House, she has become an object of fascination and curiosity in political circles and beyond. Barbara Walters interviewed her as one of the year's 10 most fascinating people. People magazine has written about her twice in recent weeks. An article in a Palm Springs newspaper ran with the headline: "How To Get the Nancy Pelosi Look." (Answer: an Armani suit.)
Only weeks ago, Republicans were doing their best in the heat of the campaign to paint Pelosi, 66, as a conservative's nightmare — a San Francisco liberal out of touch with the American mainstream. But more recently, a poll measuring political charisma showed that she had "dramatically improved her standing" with the public, sponsors of the survey said, with voters knowing her better and feeling warmer toward her.
Fiore also claimed that Pelosi’s "events in the first week of January will try to plant Pelosi's version of her life story in the national consciousness, showing her as an Italian American and devout Catholic from Baltimore." Fiore calls Pelosi’s swearing-in an "inauguration" (she ran for president) and a test: "The impending inauguration kicks off the contest over who will define Nancy Pelosi: Republicans who see her as a reckless liberal, or Pelosi herself, who wants to be seen as an American Everywoman, leading her party on a steady course to the center."
Then, look who arrives in the story, but liberal Kathleen Hall Jamieson:
"She is trying to dispatch the stereotype put forth by Republicans," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "The advantage she has is the country didn't know her before. Her challenge will be to take votes cast against Republicans and the war in Iraq and transform them into votes for the Democratic Party in 2008."
Four months ago, Pelosi barely registered on the name recognition scale, which served her well at the time; GOP attempts to demonize her fell flat because few knew who she was.
Now many more do.
"This is a dangerous time in terms of public reception. She has the newsworthiness but not the power," said former Democratic strategist Paul Begala.
Predictably, there was no conservative or Republican in the piece to disagree. As for the "American Everywoman" stance, does every American woman have a $6,000 Tahitian pearl necklace? See the article's beginning and end for more.