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A ‘shy’ politician wary of the limelight
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Nancy Pelosi is a tough interview. She is disciplined and precise. She is unapologetic about repeating the same talking points. She isn’t inclined to indulge in speculation, to discuss the what-ifs. She is rarely willing to dish.
In our third interview for this book, I ventured gingerly to ask if she would give me permission to see her high school and college transcripts. I already had interviewed classmates at the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore and at Trinity Washington University, and I had spent time on both campuses. At her alma maters, officials expressed pride in their most famous alumna, and they assured me that she had been a perfect student in every way. But because of federal rules and their own policies, they wouldn’t let me see her records without her approval.
When I made the same request of former First Lady Barbara Bush while I had been working on a biography of her, she sent a bemused note to the authorities at the College of Charleston, which had charge of the archives from her former boarding school. “Although I fear she will be unimpressed,” she wrote, “I am giving my permission for Susan Page to have access to my academic records at Ashley Hall.” Some Girls Love Weights And Tattoos It’s Me I’m Some Girls Shirt, hoodie, tank top
That was not Pelosi’s reaction. She looked appalled, as though I had asked to rifle through her closet. She did give me the courtesy of an explanation for turning me down flat.
“I’m a very private person,” she told me. That is not the typical attitude of elected officials; some of them pursue political careers precisely because they revel in the spotlight. “That’s the thing, when people talk about me in public, I’m like – if I go someplace and I don’t have to speak, I’m in my glory. I’m not looking for an audience. I’m as private a person as there is, and a shy one. I’ve had to be in this role – but I don’t intend to go into personal, personal aspects.” In case I had somehow missed the point, she added firmly: “No.”
That said, as I researched and wrote this biography, she did occasionally go into “personal, personal aspects,” although not always intentionally. I am grateful that she agreed to a series of interviews for the book. (I wasn’t sure she would invite me back after the first interview, when I took a bite into the Dove ice cream bar she had offered and sent tiny shards of the dark chocolate shell flying onto her pristine cream- colored carpet.)