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EXCLUSIVE: How Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi pushed Barack Obama to go big on health care Everybody Has An Addiction Mine Just Happens To Be Cats Shirt, hoodie, tank top

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hugs then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during a 2010 Women History Month celebration.

She was crushed that Hillary Clinton had lost. The two women had known each other since they met at the Democratic National Convention in 1984, when Pelosi was chair of the San Francisco host committee and Clinton was the wife of the up-and-coming governor of Arkansas. After Bill Clinton was elected president, they had occasionally clashed, notably over Hillary Clinton’s decision to address the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. “She was really against my going,” Clinton told me; Pelosi argued it sent the wrong signal at a time when Chinese American human rights activist Harry Wu had been arrested. But over the years they had worked in concert on Democratic politics and policy, and Pelosi had long been an advocate for more women in public office. They shared a certain kinship. Both women were trailblazers who had been attacked and caricatured by their critics.

In 2016, Nancy Pelosi was delighted by the prospect of turning over the most-powerful-woman mantle to a President Hillary Clinton.

At the time, few knew that Pelosi was making plans for the 2016 election to be her valedictory. (To be fair, some of those close to her questioned whether she actually would have followed through if Clinton had won.) After three decades as a congresswoman from California, nearly half of that time as the leader of the House Democrats, Pelosi said she was getting ready to take a breath, dote on her nine grandchildren, perhaps write her memoirs. At seventy-six years old, she was well past the retirement age for almost every workplace except Congress. With Hillary Clinton in the White House, Pelosi could be confident that the causes she had fought for would be protected, especially the Affordable Care Act that she had pushed through Congress against all odds.

After Nancy Pelosi left the PBS studio, she dropped by the headquarters of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Capitol Hill, then joined a poll-watching party for big donors at Maryland representative John Delaney’s town house nearby. She was on her cell phone, tracking key House races, when she began to get an inkling about what was happening.

She checked in with Pennsylvania congressman Bob Brady, a big-city pol in the mold of Pelosi’s father, who had been a three-term mayor of Baltimore. In their first conversation that night, he was upbeat. Democrats always needed a big edge from the Philadelphia vote to carry the state, and he assured her they would deliver it. In their second conversation, he struck a note of caution. “We’re going to get our vote,” he told her, but “there’s a lot coming in for the rest of the state [that was] not so good.”

 

 

 

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