Maybe next year, Eric Cantor!
Tonight, she has another date.
In a public rebuff, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., found his invitation to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to sit with him during President Obama's State of the Union address tonight flatly rejected.
It seems Pelosi already has another Republican to sit with – Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md.
Pelosi, in a tweeted message, said she was thankful to Cantor for his offer, “but I invited my friend Rep. Bartlett from Maryland yesterday & am pleased he accepted.”
And Bartlett certainly seems to be a man in demand.
“I look forward to sitting between two lovely ladies, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Judy Chu, D-Calif., at tonight’s State of the Union Speech,” offered Bartlett, in his own statement.
And by early afternoon, Cantor was moving on.
“Minority Leader Pelosi declined Eric’s offer, which would have resulted in the two party leaders sitting together,” said Cantor spokesman, Brad Dayspring. “Eric will be sitting at the traditional spot on the House floor reserved for the Majority Leader and will be joined by Rep. Bobby Scott, his friend and colleague from Richmond.”
This whole flap – beginning with the invitation sent by Cantor staffers to Pelosi’s office early last night – seems to have the flavor of an attempt at making-up gone bad.
It all unfolded after Cantor had taken a political swipe at Pelosi earlier Monday during a news conference for, he said, “continuing to drive an ideological agenda.”
The timing of that criticism of Pelosi seemed odd, especially given that other Republican and Democratic members were making a public show of their plans to sit side by side with those from the other side of the aisle during tonight’s speech, as a show of bipartisan civility.
But if Cantor's invitation to Pelosi was an olive branch, she apparently has snapped it and thrown it back.
This article appears in the January 25, 2011, edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.