House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she was surprised about the scope of Republican victories in congressional races Tuesday but has “no regrets” about the legislative agenda she and President Obama have pursued.
“No regrets. Because we believe we did the right thing,” said Pelosi, ticking off such accomplishments as the health care law, Wall Street reforms, and consumer protections in a wide-ranging interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that aired Wednesday night.
Pelosi said she believed the message to Democrats Tuesday night “was not, ‘I reject the course that you are on.’ The message is it didn’t go fast enough to produce jobs.”
"If people don't have a job, they're not too interested in how you intend for them to have a job," she said. "They want to see results."
Pelosi also said she is proud of President Obama and believes he will be reelected in two years.
But several times during the interview, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House sidestepped questions about her own political future, now that Republicans will take control of the House and John Boehner of Ohio will likely succeed her as Speaker.
She said she likes Boehner and congratulates him, and “now we look forward to working with the Republicans.”
“They say they have some ideas on job creation. We had hoped they would’ve suggested them before,” she said.
Pelosi also predicted Republican efforts to undo the new health care law may be difficult, because “when we have this debate piece by piece, I think the American people will see how they like pieces of it, and how they relate to each other.
Pelosi said she is now talking to members of the Democratic Caucus about how House Democrats will go forward, and that “when I’m toward the end of doing that, I’ll start thinking about what I do next.”
The 70-year-old grandmother said her family will have input on her plans, and that she will “pray over it, and decide how to go forward.”
She did not answer a direct question about whether she would seek to remain leader of House Democrats in the minority, a role she held four years ago.
“I don’t want to speak for my caucus at this time. When we make that decision together, then we’ll have an announcement about it,” she said.
Pelosi acknowledged her historical place is already secure, and she is “not a footnote in history.” Pelosi at one point also said she was proud of a “job well done.”
But she said her “real accomplishment in life is being a mom and a grandmother.”
Pelosi also expressed sadness over the election losses of colleagues “of great seniority and distinction in the Congress, and some very new members."
She said she talked about that with Obama in two telephone calls Tuesday, and that the number of Democratic losses suprised her.
"I always believe that there was a way that we could win if some of these very close races fell our way,” said Pelosi. “And they were falling our way. [But] $100 million approximately of outside money weighed in on those races, and changed the atmosphere in the last couple of weeks.”
Pelosi said that of course she was disappointed but that Democrats are “always ready to come back.”
Ben Terris contributed