tv QA Susan Page Madam Speaker CSPAN April 25, 2021 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
>> before answer your question, that is an example of the gift that c-span has been. i do c-span all the time is a daily reporter. you never appreciate it more than when you're writing a book like this where you can go back and see what actually happened on a historic occasion. you don't have to rely on still pictures. thank you to c-span for all you do for our democracy.
>> that's very kind. nancy pelosi is becoming lightning rod for next. the book is a very personal story and a political one. you learn things about her enter personality. what are those character traits that you reveal? . this might surprised people who like and don't like nancy policy. we know her father was a famous politician who was elected i've times. elected three times mayor of baltimore. her mother, who was known as big nancy, as compared to her daughter little man. was a remarkable nickel dollars of her own and organizer or has, a strategist, dr. newer, someone who like to bet on the pony. as a regular at she was a risk
taker. she was someone whose lessons are reflected in every stage of nancy pelosi's life and today are lessons she applies today as speaker of the house. host: what are the strengths she took away from each of her parents? guest: she took away her political ideology. she is in many ways the still -- in many way still the new deal democrat her father was, her father and ally of fdr. such an ally of fdr he named his second son frank delano roosevelt sought dalessandro -- roosevelt alessandra. her mother cap something called the favor filed. it is exactly what it sounded like. constituents would come needing help finding housing or getting a son out of jail or figure out the immigration status.
her mother would arrange the favor, keep a record of it, rely on the person to turn out and vote in the next election, and also tapped that person for when someone down the road needed a favor. it is the essence of politics. host: while we are talking about them, let's see a little bit of video of nancy's father, from 1987. let's see if i can find it, about meeting fdr in person, from maryland public television. 1978, sorry. >> one day i got a call. i was in the speaker's chair in congress. i was speaker of a chairman of a committee. a page comes up to me and says mr. congressman, the white house is calling you. the president wants you. i thought they were pulling my leg.
i said, tell him if he wants to come talk to me, he has to come down there. i thought they were getting. i that they were pulling my leg. so when i went back, i secretary said, did you get a call from the president? no. so i called up a secretary and he laughed. he said, i'm sorry, i thought they were pulling my leg. so i went in the next day and he was dressed good. he gave me a cigarette. i said, mr. president, if the boys could only see me now. host: in baltimore the family was political royalty. tell me a little bit about how she lived her life in that city. guest: the della saunders of baltimore were like the kennedys of boston. when nancy pelosi was born in 1940, it was in all the papers. her picture as a newborn
surrounded by her five brothers, her mother who was in bed, and her father ran in the baltimore newspapers that day. her father, an amazing figure, you see them there as a former mayor. he always wore a bowtie. he had a pencil mustache. he was actually kicked out of saint leo's school at age 13 and never really went back to school. never graduated from elementary or high school or college. but someone who had enthusiasm charisma and energy and ended up being a very important political figure in the charm city. >> he mentions little italy.
how important were the family's italian roots? guest: the house nancy pelosi grew up in, now her cousin was it. -- lives in it. it's still in the family. in the center of this community, of course, little italy has contracted since the days they were living there, but still a real community, still with some of the restaurants that were around when nancy della sondra was growing up. host: how important was the catholic faith to the family? guest: it was really fundamental. saint leo's was the local church. it was where babies were baptized. children went to school. funerals were held there. those who passed away were mourned. host: the family were hard-core democrats and nancy pelosi even as a child was deeply partisan. you have a couple stories that illustrate that. one was the toy elephant. guest: so she is a little girl, her parents take her to a polling place on election day.
i'm sure that was a familiar place for her to go even as a very young person. a poll worker offered her a stuffed toy elephant. she would not take it. because she understood that elephants stood for the republican party and that is not who they were. even as an adult, she had similar really strong partisan feelings. she as a young mother with four children at the time, they moved to san francisco. they were looking for a house to rent. there were a lot of landlords not eager to rent to a family that had for children. she finally found the house she liked. it had a backyard and swing set. they were just about to sign the lease when she discovered the reason the house was available was because the owner had taken a job in the nixon administration. she said there is no way she could rent a house from someone who was going to work for richard nixon. and she didn't. host: about her successes and
failures as speaker, how does a sense of deep partisanship play out for her? guest: it was fundamental in baltimore. baltimore was a democratic city. you do not need to worry about republican so much. you need to worry about the democratic primary. same thing is true in san francisco where she moved and became very active in politics, chair of the democratic party in california and then a candidate herself. when you see her operate in washington today, as we have become such a partisan town, you can see the effects of that, i think. she has never been in a situation where bipartisanship was the role of the day. not that she has never cut bipartisan deals. of course she has. but that is not the instinct she grew up with. host: therefore, doesn't contribute to the hyper partisanship?
guest: i think are strongest admirer would say she is a master of our political system. one thing her critics might say if she did not try to change things about our political system. she excelled in this very partisan atmosphere. she became one of the parties most successful fundraisers. you might say the effect of big money is something you would like to reduce but she took the system that she faced and she worked over the kind of mastery we have not seen since figures like lyndon johnson. host: on the fundraising, you are poor in your book a pretty eye-popping figure about how much she is raised as leadership. guest: close to $1 billion. that is a stunning amount of money. she would use her california base as an important way to raise money. she raises money from hollywood and business.
she even got a contribution from a businessman in new york named donald trump. host: when was that? guest: that was years ago when donald trump was a democrat, although he was giving to some republicans at a time too. charlie wrangle, the legendary congressman from new york, introduce them at the time. she was on a fundraising call. he remembered that. when she was elected speaker, he sent her a congratulatory note. even years later, when he was in office and she had become the face of the democrat opposition to donald trump, he still saw her as a potential ally. i remember interviews with him and david jackson for usa today just before the midterms in 2018, and at this time, many of trump's aides and strategists were alarmed by the possibility that democrats would gain control of the house. they understand all that meant in terms of investigations, even in terms of impeachment. but donald trump, president trump, in this interview aboard air force one was not that concerned.
he said he could work with them. they could work with the democratic because they would also want to get things done. of course, things turned out a bit differently. host: we will talk about some of this as the hour progresses. before we get more into the pathway to power. how long ago did you start your book? guest: i started about two and half years ago. host: you write that she granted you 10 interviews. how difficult was that negotiation? guest: i was grateful. i did not have a deal with her beforehand, before i signed the contract on the book. but i had interviewed her over the years occasionally for news stories. i thought she would probably talk to me a little bit. she agreed to talk to me once a quarter. so every three months i would go and have an interview with her
in the speaker's office which i thought was a lot. i thought there was a lot of interviews for somebody who was the speaker of the house. some of those interviews took place on big days, days she had a dispute with aoc and the squad . the day impeachment hearings began, big days, important days to be there. i was worried after the first interview i would never get a second, because when i came in for the first interview, she gave me a dove bar, you know those ice cream bars coated with chocolate. she had one and i had one but i bit into mine and shards of chocolate scattered on her pristine carpet. her cream colored carpet. it may kind of a mess. i was worried she would never invite me back. fortunately, she invited me back, but she never again offered me anything to eat. lesson learned. host: in those interviews, you write in the introduction she is a tough interview. how so? guest: she is very disciplined. she knows what she wants to say. she is not embarrassed to say it over and over again.
there are a couple quotes she gives about abraham lincoln and the importance of public sentiment or about ronald reagan and the strength of an immigrant nation. she's perfectly happy in an interview to tell you exactly what she said that they had a news conference or three months ago in a speech. the effort to get things that are new and different more spontaneous, more insightful, was tough. the interviews got better the more of them i had. i kept finding things she did not know about about herself. i think that helps. that helped the interviews become more productive. host: one of those was the patents her mother was granted. guest: her mother was this great entrepreneur who created this aluminum machine to give women facials. it was called beauty by vapor.
she submitted totally official looking scientific drawings for patents twice for this machine. we found the patent application. one of my sons went on ebay and found a nancy dalessandro beauty by vapor machine. he bought it for me and it still worked. host: i wonder if she has ever seen one. guest: i showed her that and the patent. host: she went to school here in washington dc, trinity college, a catholic college. right after that, what did she do? guest: she went to work for senator brewster, daniel brewster, a one term senator from maryland who hired two people for his office when it opened up.
he hired her as a receptionist, and a young man named steny hoyer. he later became a legislative aide. the two people who now lead the democratic party in the house first met fresh out of college and this junior senator's office. host: how would you characterize the relationship between the two of them, as long as it is? guest: there are few stories in washington that excite more interest than the relationship between nancy pelosi and steny hoyer because for many years they were great rivals. steny hoyer thought he was on track to become the whip. when nancy pelosi announced she was going to run for that office, this was before there is even an opening for whips. ended up running a campaign that lasted for three years, cost millions in campaign contributions.
they would give out campaign cash to try to get votes. it became pretty bitter. then she won. since then she has always been one level above steny hoyer. that is not really a recipe for people to become best friends. their rivalry has been well-known. i thing it is less now. i think they now have a good working relationship. they are both in their 80's now, towards the end of their long and illustrious careers. steny hoyer told me in an interview for the book that he was proud she was majority leader and if you had told him as a young man, he would've been really proud of that. after she graduated from trinity, her ambitions your report were that she wanted to go to law school. her mother wanted her to be a nun. she did neither. what took her in a different direction? guest: her mother gave of those aspirations when she was a little girl. her mother said she should think about being a nun and she said, i think being a priest has more power to it.
that would be characteristic of nancy pelosi. she did think about law school. she took the lsat to prepare for that. but she got married to paul pelosi. they immediately started having children. they had five in all. her life took a different course. she never stopped being political, even when she was a young mother in new york. she was doing canvassing, she said pushing a baby or two in a stroller enabled to sail past people at the entrances of buildings that might stop some and also she could pamphlet the apartment building. host: the public rarely sees paul policy. -- pelosi. what can you tell me about him? guest: he did agree to an interview for the book. he rarely does interviews. he told me that he thinks people have questions about nancy
pelosi then they should ask her. they have this long marriage. five children. nine grandchildren. he said one thing he has done for his he has been financially very successful as a businessman. that has given her kind of an independence, politically, to have that as a financial base. he does spend time here. he's a graduate of georgetown university. he was elected president of the student body there. when he was a student there. he is still active in georgetown affairs. host: in 2018 nancy pelosi was the seventh wealthiest member in congress. what businesses is he in? guest: he had a financial company that works with silicon valley. now they also have a vineyard. he's been very successful as an investor and businessman in san francisco, where his family is
from. his family is from -- his brother ronald was a member of the city council there. host: he has a vineyard but you mention the book she rarely drinks alcohol. guest: she almost never drinks alcohol. i was told one of the rare times she had a glass of champagne was when janet yellen was appointed chairman of the federal reserve instead of larry summers. host: let me say with that for a moment. you're very well aware of the many youtube videos and the like that of become memes about nancy pelosi that have accused are sometimes in public on medication or drunk. what is the reality of that? guest: i don't think that's true. i see no signs that she drinks. i've been at dinners with her and she never drink. i think you can do a lot with a video clip. people could probably make fun of me on a video clip from this interview. i think that is a slur that is not correct.
host: go back to their stories. five kids in six years. guest: six years and a week. host: you tell about her seeing mother or to some thing and also encouraging women to use their motherhood as base to continue their careers. talk about how she viewed what motherhood did for her and her skill set. guest: you think of the lesson she learned from her father the politician as being preparation for the political career she has. she says she got the best preparation from running this household of five little kids. her children describe it with a kind of military precision.
she was extremely organized. she sets standards. perfect preparation. the five p's. she would say it over and over until they could all recite it. she also perfected -- i only have two kids -- mothers with larger families i think will recognize this. you constantly are figuring out what motivates your children. that's true even if you have one child. what motivates them, what they really say when they say this. what's behind what they say. how can you get them from where they are to how you want them to be? how can you forge alliances in your family? those are all skills she learned as the mother of five. sometimes women of her generation try not to talk about having children, as though they wanted to be more like male candidates. that is not really true for her. she talks about her kids. the first time she was elected speaker, you showed that clip at the beginning of this hour, at the end of it she invited her grandchildren and other children to come up all around her.
that was not something any previous speaker had done. she had some concern it was not permitted under parliamentary rules. she decided to just do it anyway. host: the very first political convention this network covered was the 1984 democratic national convention in san francisco. pelosi had a role in bringing that to san francisco. what was that? guest: she was chair of the host committee. she was important and bring it there. i interviewed walter mondale, who has just passed away and was nominated for that convention. i interviewed him and he talked about nancy pelosi's organizational skills that were apparent even then. dianne feinstein was then the mayor of san francisco. the two of them are really crucial in making that convention go well. the 1984 presidential campaign did not go so well for walter mondale, but the convention did. i covered that convention. i was working for newsday. when geraldine ferraro became the first woman nominated by
a major party for national office, very exciting time. nancy pelosi told me she could hardly stress how exciting it was for her. who knew how many years would pass before a woman would actually become vice president? it took more than three decades for that to happen. host: there was a change you reported at the convention between nancy pelosi and lindy boggs. who is lindy boggs and what did she say to nancy that stayed with her throughout her life? guest: she was the congresswoman from louisiana. she succeeded her husband how boggs who had been in the leadership himself when he was missing, presumed dead from an airplane crash in alaska. at that point, nancy pelosi got -- was offered a second political position that had some power. she already had one. she said to lindy boggs, maybe i should give up this other job because i'm going to take on
this additional job. lindy boggs said, no man would ever do that. and told her not to give up the other job. and told her, know thy power. that message was so important to nancy pelosi that when she wrote her own memoir years later, she titled it know your power. host: does she appreciate power for power's sake or because of the policy objectives it enables for her to do? guest: she's evidently has things she wants to get done. she sees power as a way to do the things you think are important to do and that you want to do as a policymaker. in fact, that is one reason she is willing to compromise.
some democrats are critical of nancy pelosi because they say she is too willing to compromise. she's not standing up for medicare for all, instead she wants to enhance the affordable care act. she supports cliamte change legislation but does not embrace the green new deal. but nancy pelosi's attitude is that you have to play the long game. you need to get as much as you can, but you need to make compromises. sometimes taking half a loaf is the most you get. she is both a partisan ideological democrat, a liberal democrat, but also a baltimore pol who wants to get things done. barack obama, president obama, who was a crucial ally in the biggest achievement of her career, the affordable care act, told me that's what he liked about nancy pelosi. at the end of the day she wants to get stuff done. host: the next important step in her career was 1987 and also involved a female member of congress. tell me the story and why it was important in her trajectory.
guest: many women in politics particularly in that generation were pushed into politics by other women. that is something you see mentioned. lindy boggs. she had been elected, at first she had been elected to the seat that her husband phil burton had held after his death. she was dying of cancer. she was friends of nancy pelosi. she called nancy pelosi when she was very close to death and set -- said that she hoped she would run for seat and that sally burton would endorse her. which was a huge gift, given she was the incumbent and all the democrats would want to run for this seat in san francisco. that was what nancy pelosi -- nancy pelosi told me she would've never thought about running without her delivering that message. it seems funny, because she
seems like such a natural pol in some ways, she's from a political family. but she said it had never crossed her mind until she encouraged her to run. she ran in a wild race in san francisco. 14 candidates in this big, sprawling primary. won narrowly over harry brit. since then has not lost an election. host: what was the house like when she arrived? guest: the house was overwhelmingly male. it was not so different from the house in which her father had served. in 1987, tommy dalessandro wasn't his final months of life. he was ailing. -- was in his final months of
life. he went to see his only daughter sworn in as a member of congress and took the occasion to lobby the speaker to appoint her to the appropriations committee, a big assignment and one he held, a committee he had been on. she did not did at that first time, but she eventually got on the appropriations committee and she continues to call herself an appropriator. host: time to plunge into the big issues she has shepherded through. one of her very first one was aids. in 1987, your report that 20,000 people died in the u.s. of aids. looking back at the number it seems so large. dr. anthony fauci was one of the people involved in aids research at the time. how risky was it is a brand-new member of congress to get involved with aids policy? guest: it was dangerous nationally politically.
it was a time when the president -- president reagan was not talking about aids. when there are politicians who thought it not as a public health issue, but as a moral issue, as some kind of anti-gay judgment from god. so there was -- when she spoke up on the house floor that very first time in 1987 after being sworn in, she said she had come there to address aids. she called it an earthquake. some numbers of the delegation standing around her did not think this was a smart thing for do. that was right before c-span. host: i'm trying to find the clip.
september of 1987 is when we started. guest: it was months after she was sworn in that c-span started. i cannot tell you how hard i like to find that clip of her talking about aids. host: we found one from kqed which is her home public television station in san francisco in 1988, she is looking to be elected for her first full general congressional election. let's listen to the things at the time she thought were important to her as a brand-new member making her case to the public. >> the most urgent health issue facing our community is aids. last march i introduced a bill which would assist in financing aids patient care. last march i introduced a bill which would assist in financing aids patient care. included in the bill were early intervention projects and mental health projects for people infected by aids. both of these measures passed both houses of congress. i've also worked to bring jobs to san francisco. this year we were able to get authorization for a new federal building in the city. i have been a strong advocate for child care, parental leave, increasing the minimum wage, and other legislation that recognizes the reality of women in the workplace.
host: what's your reaction? guest: if you talk to her today, she would strike some of the same things. very consistent. recently effective as a new member of congress. she had one big asset. she had already been active in california politics. she had been the finance chairman for the democratic senate campaign committee for george mitchell, who was then the chairman. she knew a lot of officials which gave her a standing that not every freshman member of the house had. her campaign slogan in that 1987 special election was a voice that will be heard. that reflected the fact that she came to washington with some credentials that really helps her. host: the democrats had been in
power in the house for a long time when she came to congress. that all changed when newt gingrich took control of the house. i'm wondering what happened to her view of the leadership in the democratic party without republican victory. -- with that republican victory. guest: she thought the leadership had been not smart. tom foley who had been the speaker of the house -- there were rumors this upstart, california congresswoman might challenge tom foley, which she said she was not intending to do. but lieutenants came and warned her against doing it. i don't think she liked that, either. i think she thought they were not responding to the times in an effective way. host: you interviewed newt gingrich about nancy pelosi, often a political combatant with her. what is his view of her during that time and a speaker? guest: the two of them cannot be politically more different in their views of the role of government. they were combatants.
but one thing they were both speakers who had a lot of power. newt gingrich consolidated a lot of power in the speaker's chair that had not been there before. nancy pelosi kept it there. when i interviewed newt gingrich, he told me about an old movie which involved pirates. it's hard to explain this a little bit. he said when he saw nancy pelosi, he saw a fellow pirate. by that meaning, not that they were ideologically close, but that they were both very skilled in the business of politics. he said that with some admiration. host: you referenced earlier the three year battle with steny hoyer for the leadership position. when did that come to a culmination? guest: she won the election in
the fall of 2001. she was installed as a weapon in -- as a whip in february 2002. she's been leadership ever since. that's pretty unusual. not since sam rayburn. that stint as head of the house democrats is pretty long. no one since sam rayburn has held the leadership position for that long. she held it when they were in the minority and the majority and the minority and back in the majority again. that's a sign of her hold on this caucus. she has managed to keep a hold
of it. of time and under that much turmoil. host: 2002 was the debate over the iraq war. she took a strong position counter to a lot of democrats and republicans, and of course, george bush's white house. let's listen to her on october 10, 2002, on the iraq war authorization debate. >> we will pay any price to protect the american people. is this the right way to go? to jeopardize in a serious way our young people when that can be avoided? i respect the judgments of our military leaders. it is a civilian decision to go to war. but military leaders present us with options. which they know are to be a last resort. these costs to the war on terrorism, the loss-of-life, the cost to our economy, the constant dollars to our budget. these costs must be in for cash answer for. if we can go and certainly we can show our power to saddam hussein. if we resolve this issue dip a -- diplomatically, we can show our strength as a great country. let us show our greatness. vote no on this resolution. host: well she lost in that particular battle. what do you observe in
hindsight, looking at this. of time and her strong stand on the iraq war and how it positioned her as a leader? guest: this is a very interesting episode, because the safe position at the time was to support the war. there was public support for the war in iraq. the leader was supporting it. nancy pelosi was the highest ranking member of congress to oppose the iraq war from the start. she opposed it in part because she had been serving on the intelligence committee and she did not think the intelligence supported the case for war. she turned out to be right in that. i think it is a sign that she is willing to take what now looks, in retrospect, like the smart thing to do. but at the time, carried some real political risks. in one interview, she said her biggest disappointment when she first became leader was, at this point, when she became speaker
-- leader and speaker the first time was her failure to convince george w. bush to withdraw u.s. troops from iraq. in one of the interviews i did with her, she said it was the biggest mistake that had been made in american history. host: how does she view president bush, his tenure in office, in hindsight? guest: i think her view of him has softened a little after four years of donald trump. she had more respect and regard for george w. bush than she did for donald trump.
but it is still colored by her view that the war in iraq was such a mistake, carried such a cost for the country. i think she continues to have a pretty tough judgment on george w. bush as a president. host: in the closing days of his administration, 2008, the financial meltdown and the need for what was then the largest bailout package we had seen. in hindsight, it does not look so big compared to the recent one. what was her role in negotiating a successful bailout? guest: at that point, the president and the speaker of the house had not spoken in months because of their division over the iraq war. the economy faced financial meltdown and it became crucial to get a huge and quite unpopular bill through congress to help bail out the banks. she and john boehner, who -- we saw very young john boehner in the earlier clip. they each agreed they would provide half of their caucuses to pass the tax assets relief package. republicans did not deliver on their vote. not even close. she delivered more than half of the democratic caucus, not enough to get it through. because a huge reaction in the stock market. catastrophe seemed to loom. at that point, she got it
through congress with democratic votes. still not half of the republicans voting for it. she's only that that the -- she told me that vote was necessary to avoid a potential great depression. but she things it is why democrats lost control of 2010. she things it was more damaging politically for democrats than voting for the affordable care act. host: test next thing i wanted to talk to you about. that bill is become known colloquially as obamacare but you title it pelosicare. why? guest: it would not have passed without barack obama, but it would also not have passed without nancy pelosi and her political skills.
there was a point when democrats lost the 60th vote in the senate and with it the ability to stop a filibuster when scott brown won the seat held by ted kennedy. there were a lot of voices in washington, including rahm emanuel, the chief of staff, the thought democrats should go for a smaller bill, something that just covered children, because the political currents were too unfriendly to get the big comprehensive bill through. i discovered in doing reporting that nancy pelosi issued an extraordinary threat to barack obama because she wanted to have a big bill and she had conversations with ted kennedy before his death. he wanted a big bill. in a meeting at the white house, she said there were some people a small bill. rahm emanuel was sitting right there in the meeting. she said she would not help them push through a small bill read a
less comp or has a bill. he had a choice. he could go big or go home. barack obama naturally shows to go big. she pushed after the house in a display of political muscle we rarely see. host: how so? guest: the house had passed a bill the house liked. the senate passed a bill the senate liked. they were different. in order to get the bill done, once that 60th seat was often the senate, had to use a process called reconciliation, which at the time seemed obscure. these days we talk about it morning, noon, and night. they cannot make big changes to the senate bill. they had to swallow the bill that they thought was not nearly as good as their bill. that was what the task was. and that was what the test was. whether she can get the senate version of the bill to the house. she did by using persuasion, cooperation, and by using threats.
host: in this chapter you have a description of her as lyndon johnson in four inch heels. guest: you can see some pictures that remind you of lyndon johnson where she is stabbing her finger at someone she is trying to persuade. there is a famous one with donald trump and the last time they had a real conversation at a white house meeting in october of 2019. there is one with barack obama, her dabbing her finger at him intently. in this picture, barack obama has put his hands on nancy pelosi's hand. it is not clear whether he's trying to calm her or protect himself. host: we have another clip. it is about the passage of the affordable care act. march 21, 2010. this is nancy plessis speaking just before the vote. speaker pelosi: we will be joining those who established social security. medicare. and now tonight, health care for all americans.
[applause] >> on this vote, the yays are 219, the nays are 212. [applause] host: a seven vote difference. guest: not really a seven vote difference, she told me. she told me she had some votes in her pocket, that she had some democrats who voted no that would have voted yes she had to have them because she said, you never go to the floor unless you are going to win. host: for me as a reader, that chapter brought together all the threads of the story he had been telling -- you had been telling about nancy pelosi throughout the whole book. the go big aspect you talked
about, the baltimore politician, get as much as you can. social justice and her catholic roots. do you see this as the real pinnacle of her legislative achievements in using the skills? guest: that's exactly right. it was an enormous achievement. if you asked nancy pelosi her biggest achievement of all her life, of her entire life in public service, she would tell her it was the passage of the aca. host: republicans don't see it that way. guest: republicans voted against it. they promise to dismantle it when they got into power. they failed to do so. not everybody -- not everyone supports what nancy pelosi supports. there are some people who would think the things she manages to get through are not the right things for the country. you can have that argument. but you cannot argue that she has not had this huge impact on this country in a variety of ways. she was the ranking democrat on the intelligence committee of
9/11. she was the leading voice against the iraq war from its start. she pushed through the legislation that helped prevent a great depression into 2008. she was the force behind the passage of the biggest expansion of health care since medicare and medicaid. and then her final chapter, she became the face of the democratic opposition to donald trump. host: but she became the face for republicans of big government. what was the political price she paid after the aca passed? guest: she lost her speakership. the democrats lost control of the house in the 2010 midterm election. it took them a long time to fight their way back to it. in 2018. chuck schumer, now the senate majority leader, said, soon
after this happened, that the democrats lost so much ground in the congressional elections that it had been a mistake. he expressed regret. she rebuked him. she said it was not a mistake. it was the right thing to do. we came here to do things, not to get reelected. host: another statistic you had that demonstrates what one republican political operative said to you, that it was a gift to republicans. guest: a big target characterized as an example of a rigid, ideological figure who had san francisco values. that was the republican attack. she raised a lot of money for democrats. republicans raised a lot of money using pelosi as the villain who needed to be defeated. host: fast forward to the 2016 election and donald trump coming into office. had she at that point thought about stepping down from congress?
guest: not many people knew this, but she was planning once hillary comes and was elected, and i put myself in the camp of thinking hillary clinton was going to be elected. she was making plans to step down. she was 76 years old. but that election night was a shock for her and so many others. she said that when she realized donald trump was going to win the election, it was like a mule was kicking her. physically. she felt like a mule was kicking her over and over again. by the end of the night she decided she was not going to go anywhere, that she was going to stay and try to stand up to donald trump and protect democratic priorities, including the affordable care act. host: donald trump, the author of the art of the deal, came to washington saying he was a good dealmaker. did he think in the beginning he would be able to craft a
relationship and make deals with her? guest: i think he did. i think he thought that for a long time. host: she was determined to not ever to? guest: i think she would make a deal if it suited her priorities. they had very different views on immigration. he passed a big tax cut that went disproportionately to the wealthy interview. -- in her view. they were not aligned on policy. they thought, they could make a deal on an infrastructure bill. that never happened. here we are talking about an infrastructure bill yet again. host: people remember the 35 day government shutdown when we talk about deals. steve bannon, the longtime trump advisor, said trump got totally played in that. how so? guest: they basically called trump's bluff.
he was threatening to shut down the government if he could not get more money for his wall on the southern border. the leadership held strong that they were not giving in on that. it was not in retrospect that costly. not every democrat thought it was the right thing to do. nancy pelosi had to work hard to keep democrats in line behind the policy. especially as many government functions were shut down. but trump ended up having to fold. it cost him a lot politically it was a demonstration that democrats could hang together. host: we have two clips we put together for the sake of time. they are from two different periods of her relationship with donald trump.
i want to use those as a way to talk about how she approached her relationship to the president. >> i don't think we disagree so much. i also know nancy is in a situation where it is not easy for her to talk right now. i understand that. i fully understand that. we will have a good discussion and we will see what happens. >> mr. president, please do not characterize the strength i bring to this meeting as the leader of the democrats who just won a big victory. >> and my fellow americans, the best is yet to come. god bless. thank you very much. [applause] guest: i've been in washington a long time and i've never seen a scene like that like at the 2020 state of the union address. i've never seen the leader of one branch of government have such a public show disrespect to
another. i thought it was jaw-dropping and i talked to nancy pelosi at some length in an interview about what was happening there. she said that the president came up on stage, handed her a text of the speech, which is traditional, she started to look through it. she speed reads it to see what he had to say. she saw a statement she thought was incorrect and untrue. she want to market so she could come back and say this declaration is untrue. she looks. she does not have her purse up there. there's a little drawer. there is no pen in the drawer. so she makes a tiny tear in the margin of the paper to say i want to get back to this point, because i do not think it is true. and then she found another point she thought was untrue and made another tear there.
by the end of the speech, she had made tears throughout the speech. she was enraged when he honored rush limbaugh, a figure that is quite vilified by democrats. she was steaming by the time he finished speaking. she told me he decided that he had treaded the truth and said she would spread his speech. she tore the speech four times. mike pence, the vice president's standing next to her, pretending not to notice what she was doing. host: she is the only speaker in history to oversee to presidential impeachments. what is your view of the fact that those were not voted on and he was acquitted in the senate? guest: the fact that she was quite sure he would be acquitted in the senate was one reason she was not eager to proceed with impeachment the first time around. impeachment became basically a political imperative for democrats after the release of that controversial phone call
between trump and the president of ukraine. trump was impeached and then impeached again late in his term. she argues that that is a stain on his presidency that he will never be able to erase, whatever happens. she came to view that as an important statement of what is acceptable to a president. that was especially true after the terrible events of january 6. host: your book closes with january 6. how did you get that done for a book that came out in april? guest: my publisher let me add that. i always plan to do a final chapter that would reflect the results of the 2020 election so i had a little bit of time there, but my deadline was over and they let me go back to include that important event.
i actually talked to nancy pelosi not for the book but for usa today about the events of january 6. i talked to her about that last week. it was quite remarkable. her security came to her and said she needed to lead. -- leave. she didn't think any thing serious was happening so she left her phone there because she thought she would be back in a few minutes. they take her away and i asked her if she thought if they had not got her out there in time, with the mob have killed her? she said, yeah. that was what they were setting out to do. then she said, and this is an 81-year-old woman, she said, they would've had a battle on their hands. i'm a street fighter. then she lifted up her foot and showed me her four-inch stilettos and said. besides, i had these as a weapon. host: she is in what you would call her valedictorian term as speaker. she's 81 years old. she will not run for the speakership reelection again. what are the challenges she has
in her final years in office? guest: she wants to put these big bills for president biden through. that will be tough. we have this very partisan congress. these are bills the size of which we have rarely seen in the history of our country. she's quite determined to do that. she's a good working relationship with joe biden. i'm quite sure she wants to do that. she has to do this at a time where there is a lot of tension in the democratic caucus. you have the members who come from swing districts who are very concerned about striking that path and some very liberal members who are for progressive priorities. that is a lot to hold together. there is no wiggle room. she has a narrow majority. she can only lose two votes. host: as we close, it is a power essay, a study of leadership,
are the lessons you relate in this book only applicable to her life or could anyone in politics pick it up and see a roadmap for success? guest: i think there are broad political lessons. the number one lesson she learned from her father is, no one will give you power. you have to seize it. that is why she challenged steny hoyer in that race for democratic whip all that time ago. that is advice she continues to give to political hopefuls. host: thank you for spending your pub day with c-span. we appreciate spending an hour with you. >> all q&a programs are available on our website or as a guest on cash as a podcast on --
as a podcast quick c-span is your unfiltered you of government. >> comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers so people from low-income families get the tools they need to be ready for everything. comcast supports c-span along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> c-span's washington journal. every day we take your calls live on the air on the news of the day and discussed policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, the week ahead for the biden white house. in the administration reaching
its 100 a mark in office. with the hills white house reporter brett samuels. then james and deborah fallows discussed the hbo documentary our town based on their book. and a discussion about the state of local funding with the brookings institution's brad whitehead and gordon gray. watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern monday morning. easter to join with -- be sure to join with their phone calls, text messages, and tweets. announcer: monday night on the communicators a look at content moderation with director for the center of technology and innovation at the competitive enterprise interested -- in situ. >> republicans tend to be upset about content moderation being too much and it seems to be politically motivated and putting conservative voices at a
disadvantage online, where a lot of the democrat members of congress seem very upset that more content is not being taken down. they feel that dangerous or untrue things are being left up and that is creating all sorts of other problems that spill over into our off-line worlds. i think a lot of washington can agree content moderation is something everyone is upset about, they come at it from two separate ways. announcer: monday night at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. announcer: during this week's question time, british prime minister boris johnson talked about the guilty verdict in the derek chauvin trial, the 95th birthday of queen elizabeth ii, and the u.k. response to the covid pandemic. questions now cotom