Yarmuth backpedals, endorses Pelosi for minority leader

On Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised observers and announced she will seek the position of minority leader once Republicans take control of the House, and Congressman John Yarmuth says he supports her decision.

Yarmuth’s statement:

“Over the course of my four years in Congress, the vote that I am most proud of is electing Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House. Speaker Pelosi has proven time and time again that she is able to build consensus in a caucus comprised of members from all across the ideological spectrum. Her dedication to advancing policies that improve the lives of all Americans is clearly evident in the significant legislative accomplishments that have been achieved with her as Speaker. These decisions, like all I make, are about what is in the best interests of my constituents and the country, about principle and not personalities — and that is why I will support Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic Leader in the 112th Congress.”

Over the course of the midterm election, Republicans had successfully portrayed Pelosi as the embodiment of liberal overreach, which led to the GOP’s historic victory Tuesday night. There had been speculation that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer would ascend to the position of minority leader and that Pelosi would gracefully bow out.

Asked about that prospect, Yarmuth told WHAS-11′s Joe Arnold and WFPL’s Gabe Bullard that he backed Hoyer, but went further by questioning if Pelosi was the right person to take the Democratic Party into 2011.

“I would support Steny Hoyer for minority leader,” said Yarmuth in an interview Thursday. “I know there is some thought Nancy Pelosi may stay around. And as good a leader she has been I don’t think she’s the right leader to take us forward. I think Steny will be a perfect spokesman for the Democratic Party in the House and I would support him.”

Three days after the election, however, Pelosi made it clear she wasn’t going anywhere and Hoyer announced his intentions to run for in minority whip in a possible joust with Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. Seeing the political winds shifting, Yarmuth fell in line and supported Pelosi’s decision.

When asked about the apparent change of heart, a spokesman in Yarmuth’s office said his comments were made in a different context and before the candidates for minority leader were announced.


  1. Puhn Tang
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    There’s a reason that Speaker Pelosi never did a lot of political shows, and it wasn’t because she wasn’t constantly invited. It’s because she is remarkably inarticulate and has quite a record of ridiculous gaffes and is easily flustered by challenges. She was good behind the scenes legislatively and succeeded in passing an agenda that voters just OVERWHELMINGLY rejected. The GOP dream is for Pelosi to continue as the Dem House leader so perhaps we should call John a dream maker.

  2. Steve Magruder
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    In reality, Nancy Pelosi is a wildly successful Speaker of the House. Gloating about her losing her position is like cheering when the first astronaut to step foot on Mars loses his job upon his return to Earth. She presided over multiple legislative successes that will change this nation forever, mostly for the good.

    She clearly deserves to stay in leadership.

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