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Why Pelosi thinks these midterms are about ‘honoring the vision of our founders’

Midterm elections are often perceived as a referendum on the current presidential administration. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joins Judy Woodruff to explain what her party thinks is on the table this Election Day, including “integrity in government.”

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now, for a Democrat's take, we turn to the minority leader of the House of Representatives — you just heard her name — Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California.

    Thank you very much for being here.

    So, you just heard the woman who is the chair of the Republican Party saying you're all about resistance, and that the Democrats have been fear-mongering by claiming that the Republicans want to do away with protecting preexisting conditions.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Well, let me first say that it's an honor to be here with you again for the second time. Two years ago, we were here together.

    And it's important to be able to set the record straight clearly. Either they don't know the facts or they're misrepresenting the facts.

    And it would be easier for the public to understand that the Republican attorneys general throughout the country have brought suit against the Affordable Care Act, saying that the preexisting condition shouldn't be a benefit.

    The president of the United States, instead of defending the law, which protects preexisting conditions, has joined them in saying, we agree with them.

    So what they may say in the campaign is not true. And that's just the way it is.

    But I don't want to get into a give-and-take with a party activist. I'm here to talk about the future of our country. This isn't even about Democrats or Republicans. This is about the United States of America.

    It's about honoring the vision of the founders for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, with a path that says e pluribus unum, that we have to try to work together — from many, one. It's about the truth about health care that's the biggest issue in the campaign.

    That's why the Republicans are misrepresenting it. But it's about really maintaining the preexisting condition benefit, about preserving Medicare and Medicaid, which they have said are on the chopping block, and it's about lowering the cost of prescription drugs, which is something that hopefully we can do in a bipartisan way.

    Our for-the-people agenda is lowering health care costs by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, increasing paychecks by building the infrastructure of America, and making government more accountable by having integrity in government, overturning some of their corruption in the Republican Congress and in the administration.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But do you think that message has gotten across to the voters this time?

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Yes, it has.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Both in House and Senate races? We know the Democrats are feeling pretty good about the House races.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Yes, we do.

    And that's why, because our message is one that addresses the concerns, the financial instability of America's families. And that's why we're going to win tonight. We're going to win tonight in the House of Representatives, because that message…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    How can you be certain?

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Because of the quality of our candidates, because of the vitality at the grassroots level, because of the power of our message, of, again, lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, more honest government.

    It is resonating across the country. Now, we're not a national campaign. We're one district at a time. And one district at a time, we will win the Congress tonight.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And so what does that mean? What do Democrats want to do? Assuming you were to win the House of Representatives…

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:


  • Judy Woodruff:

    … what can Democrats do with President Trump in the White House?

    Perhaps, the pundits are saying, Republicans may keep control of the Senate. What can Democrats do?

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Well, what we can do is honor the Constitution by honoring — strengthening the institution we serve in, Article 1, the legislative branch, a check and balance on the president, on the executive branch, and on the judiciary.

    It's also about, when we go in there and open up the Congress in a transparent and just showing the public what is happening in legislation that affects their lives, we think they will be partners in better policy, so, more openness, more accountability, more bipartisanship. Try to find common ground, e pluribus unum, one, try to find bipartisanship where we can, stand our ground where we can't, but strive for the boldest common denominator.

    So it's about transparency. It's about bipartisanship. It's about unity, something quite different than the Republicans are about.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Very quickly, several more questions.

    Can you work with President Trump? Can there be common ground between the Democrats and the president?

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    The things that will strengthen our common ground really will spring from the public, the public understanding of what is really on the table.

    On the issue of building the infrastructure of America, the president has said that that is something he wants to do. It's always been nonpartisan, always been nonpartisan. Hopefully, we can work together to advance that agenda.

    Again, how — the form it takes will be listening to the public, so that they see what is at stake and how we do that. I think that we could find common ground in reducing the cost of prescription drugs, if the president is serious about his saying that he wants to do that. He has pulled his punch on it so far.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    I ask because you hear not just Ronna McDaniel, but other Republicans saying, well, we expect the Democrats — because some Democrats are saying this — they want to conduct investigations of the president. They even want to impeach the president.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    That serves their purpose to say that.

    We certainly will honor our responsibility as oversight of the executive branch.


  • Judy Woodruff:

    Will there be a move to impeach the president?

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    It depends on what happens in the Mueller investigation.

    But that is not unifying. And I get criticized in my own party for not being more in support of it, but I'm not. If that happens, it would have to be bipartisan, and the evidence would have to be so conclusive.

    On the other hand, what people want us to do is address the concerns that they have in their lives. There is serious financial instability in many families in our country. They want to see us working to do — to get that done for them. They want results. They want peace, and that's what we will bring them.

    When President Bush was president and I was speaker, we worked closely on many issues, even though I vigorously opposed the war in Iraq. We did the biggest energy bill in history. We did many issues, many pieces of legislation that were very constructive for our country, as opposed to what the Republicans did when President Obama was president and they were in the majority.

    But we're not going to act the way they did. Again, for those who want impeachment and — that's not what our caucus is about.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Finally, do you expect to be the speaker if Democrats win back control of the House?

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Yes, I do.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There are some Democrats running, as you know, for Congress who are saying they're not going to vote for you.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Well, I have never had a unanimous vote — I mean, maybe first time.

    I have always had an opponent, so I feel pretty comfortable about it, not that I — any of us is indispensable, but I think I'm really the best person for the job.

    And I say that unabashedly because I want women not to ever be afraid to talk about why they think they would be the best. And I don't think Republicans should choose our leaders by putting ads on TV that then say to candidates, would you be for this person, as they demonize me?

    But I — no, I feel pretty comfortable about it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Nancy Pelosi, currently the House minority leader, we will see what happens. Thank you very much.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Yes, we will, in a few hours.

    Thank you.

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