September 22, 2013

Pelosi: Hillary Clinton "certainly more prepared" than other recent presidents

Hillary Clinton would assume the presidency better qualified than her husband, Barack Obama or George W. Bush, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

Pelosi emphasized that she has great respect for Obama, but noted Clinton has been Secretary of State, a U.S. Senator and held other positions. Obama was in his first U. S. Senate term when he was elected president in 2008.

Pelosi doesn't know if Clinton will run. But, the California Democrat said, "when she does she will win.  And when she becomes president, she'll be one of the best- equipped, best-prepared people to enter the White House in a very long time.

"She has, by dent of her experience as a senator, as a secretary of state, as a first lady herself, participating in the way she did -- certainly, with all due respect to our president, and I think he's magnificent and wonderful and a blessing to us, but certainly more prepared than President Obama, certainly more prepared than President Bush, certainly more prepared than President Clinton"

Would she be more prepared than Vice President Joe Biden?

"Well," said Pelosi, "I'm saying the presidents that we have had. Joe Biden is very prepared, and I think President Bush Sr. was prepared.  He had been a vice president.  But I'm talking about recent memory of presidents that we have had.

"You know, Joe Biden would be very prepared as well.  But you asked me about Hillary Clinton."

Pelosi was asked if she would prefer Clinton over Biden as president.

"I always have a little habit of saying, when you're serious about running, I'll be serious about it.  But I think it would be magnificent for America to have a woman president.  And by the way, incidental, more importantly, very qualified," she said.

September 19, 2013

Pelosi says she respects Boehner--and hopes that doesn't hurt him

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says she respects House Speaker John Boehner--and maybe, she laughed, that won't help him.

"So I wish the speaker well.  I respect the speaker.  I wish him well.  And I hope it doesn't hurt him too much that I said I respected him," the California Democrat told her weekly news conference.

Asked if Boehner is in control of his Republican caucus, Pelosi said, "Maybe he's in full control of his caucus.  I don't know if he's a reflection of his caucus or they're a reflection of him.  But let's just say I wish the speaker well.  He's speaker of the House.  We have a responsibility."

Pelosi preceded Boehner as speaker. 

She explained Thursday how "the debt that has been incurred that we have to raise the limit to was incurred by the Congress of the United States. So we have a responsibility to lift the debt ceiling.  And that's not for new spending.  That's for spending that has already occurred. 

"So I think that it is not just up to the speaker, but the outside has to weigh in and say, we understand the consequences of not lifting the debt ceiling; even if you don't, let us 'splain that to you. That means, in our house, increased car payment, credit card payment, student loans, mortgage payments, small-business loans across the board...."

So, she said, let's have a national discussion "because I'm not sure people know, again, the pyrotechnics that are going on the -- by the tea party in the Republican caucus and what that means directly to them." 

 

September 18, 2013

Pelosi: "Boehner surrendered the gavel" to the Tea Party

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is deeply unhappy with Republicans' plan to vote later this week on a proposal to defund Obamacare while keeping the government running past Oct. 1.

"Today, Speaker Boehner surrendered the gavel to the Tea Party’s desperate attempts to put insurance companies back in charge of the Americans’ health care.  After failing to offer a single jobs bill in this Congress, House Republicans will force their 42nd attempt to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act; now, they’re prepared to shut down the government to do so," the Califoironia Democrat said.

Pelosi saw harsh consequences.

"Instead of moving forward on a bipartisan budget solution, Republicans are doubling down on the devastating sequester cuts that will cost one million jobs by the end of 2014 and continue to gut critical investments in education, infrastructure, and innovation – key pillars of a thriving economy and a strong middle class," she maintained.

Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner plan separate press conferences Thursday to address the concerns.

.

September 12, 2013

Pelosi's wary view of Putin

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's take on Russian President Vladimir Putin's New York Times op ed?

"It is what it is.  I mean, Vladimir Putin is not in a strong constitutional democracy where people have their say so he comes here and has his say, but it has to have some fidelity to fact," the California Democrat told a news conference.

She was asked if it was frustrating that Putin may be the United States' negotiating partner.

"I mean, (Syrian President Bashar) Assad is a part of the negotiation, too, and he is, I think, clearly a monster who would gas children in his own country that he wants to preside ove," she said.

Pelosi pointed to Putin's remark that he doesn't want the United Nations turning into another League of Nations.

"I thought that was interesting, because one of the reasons the United Nations has not been effective, say for example in Syria, is because of the fear of a Russian veto," she said. "Even initiatives that others have tried to propose that would, say, condemn the use of chemical weapons, they have not been willing to sign on to. 

"So, part of the strength of the U.N. is the fact that it has a strong Security Council.  Part of the lack of success is that Russia and China too frequently use that veto power.  But what I have found interesting was the closing.  He says when we pray to God he judges us all.  I don't know exactly what his words are, but he says that we are all God's children.  I think that is great.  I hope it applies to gays and lesbians in Russia as well."

 

August 29, 2013

Reactions to Syria briefing from Corker, Pelosi

Here are reactions from two key voices, following Thursday night's briefing on the Syria situation by Obama administration officials.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"While I’m opposed to American boots on the ground in Syria, I would support surgical, proportional military strikes given the strong evidence of the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical warfare.  Whatever limited action is taken should not further commit the U.S. in Syria beyond the current strategy to strengthen the vetted, moderate opposition,” said Corker.

“While the administration has engaged in congressional consultation, they should continue to be forthcoming with information and would be far better off if they seek authorization based upon our national interests, which would provide the kind of public debate and legitimacy that can only come from Congress.”

Here's House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi:

This evening's briefing was informative and beneficial.  For some of us, this was the third consultation with the Administration this week on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. 

"On the call, I agreed with Speaker Boehner and other Members who stated that there needs to be more consultation with all Members of Congress and additional transparency into the decision making process and timing, and that the case needs to be made to the American people.

Continue reading "Reactions to Syria briefing from Corker, Pelosi" »

August 16, 2013

Democrats decry new NSA revelations

New Washington Post stories that show the National Security Agency broke privacy rules thousands of times a year have alarmed a number of congressional Democrats who called Friday for more oversight.

"Reports that the NSA repeatedly overstepped its legal boundaries, broke privacy regulations, and attempted to shield required disclosure of violations are outrageous, inappropriate and must be addressed," said Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "These reports, if accurate, highlight the need for aggressive oversight of the NSA’s intelligence gathering activities."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a statement called the relevations "extremely disturbing" and said current laws governing the agency's collection activities "contain safeguards to ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties including provisions that require that incidents of non-compliance be reported to Congress and the FISA Court."

"Congress must conduct rigorous oversight to ensure that all incidents of non-compliance are reported to the oversight committees and the FISA court in a timely and comprehensive manner, and that appropriate steps are taken to ensure violations are not repeated," Pelosi said.

The stories, which the Post says were based on documents provided earlier this summer by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, "include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance."

Continue reading "Democrats decry new NSA revelations" »

August 05, 2013

Christie, Clinton hot; Congressional leaders not

Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton are hot. Congressional leaders, cold.

Those are among the findings of a new Quinnipiac poll released Monday. The survey asks people to rate their feelings toward major political figures.

Christie, the Republican govenor of New Jersey, registers 53.1 degrees, followed by Clinton, the former Secretary of State, at 52.1. Next is freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat, at 49.2 President Barack Obama rates 47.6.

The four top congressional leaders are all at the bottom: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, 33.8; House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, 36.7; Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, 37.5 and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, 38.4.

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's score is not surprising given her lengthy political career and especially strong support among Democrats and women," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 

"But Gov. Christopher Christie's rating is impressive given that  his experience - less than four years as governor - pales compared to Mrs. Clinton' s resume.  What is interesting is that only two of the 22 figures rate better than the absolute middle of the scale, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the nation's political establishment."

July 26, 2013

Pelosi, 153 House Democrats tell Obama of "lingering questions and concerns" about NSA programs

House of Representatives Democrats Friday night sent a letter to President Barack Obama raising questions about National Security Agency data gathering programs.

"Although some of us voted for and others against the amendment, we all agree that there are lingering questions and concerns about the current 215 collection program," said the letter signed by 153 Democrats and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The letter follows Wednesday's House vote to put new restrictions on the programs. The effort failed by a narrow margin, but did win bipartisan backing.

As a result, Pelosi began circulating the letter, which was sent Friday.

 "Congress must examine the various national security collection programs and consider amendments to the law.  We have been assured that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has embarked on a review of the collection programs done pursuant to FISA and the Patriot Act, and has agreed to review various legislative proposals." 

The letter's text:

Continue reading "Pelosi, 153 House Democrats tell Obama of "lingering questions and concerns" about NSA programs" »

July 25, 2013

Pelosi to Obama: "There are lingering questions and concerns" about NSA programs

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday began circulating a letter to President Barack Obama raising concerns about the National Security Agency's data collection programs.

Pelosi voted against curbs on the programs Wednesday, but said at her weekly press conference Thursday, she had a number of questions.

Here's part of her letter:

"Although some of us voted for and others against the amendment, we all agree that there are lingering questions and concerns about the current 215 collection program.  These include:

  • ·        Whether the bulk metadata telecommunications collection program sufficiently protects the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. 
  • ·        Whether the program could be tailored more narrowly to better ensure the protection of privacy and civil liberties.
  • ·        Whether the law is being implemented in a manner consistent with Congressional intent.
  • ·        How we can ensure greater transparency regarding FISA court operations, decision making, and issuance of orders. 
  • ·        Whether changes to the current FISA Court structure are needed.

Congress must examine the various national security collection programs and consider amendments to the law.  We have been assured that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has embarked on a review of the collection programs done pursuant to FISA and the Patriot Act, and has agreed to review various legislative proposals. 

 We look forward to working with you and Administration officials to address the concerns outlined above and to explore options which will preserve Americans’ privacy and civil liberties while protecting our national security."

July 19, 2013

Pelosi backs more scrutiny of NSA

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that she backs more congressional oversight of the National Security Agency and the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.

"I am supportive of Congress taking up legislation, such as (Rep.) Adam Schiff has put forth, that would have more transparency on the operation of the FISA courts with how their decisions are made and what the decisions are after the fact," she said at a press conference.

She was referring to a bill from Schiff -- like her,a Democrat from California -- that would call for the declassification of opinions by the court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Pelosi said it was important to have these discussions and that government has to balance security interests and privacy. She pointed to a privacy and civil liberties board that has met with President Barack Obama as an appropriate place.

"Congressional oversight is important," Pelosi said. "We have to have the information in order to have oversight over it."

- KATE IRBY

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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