April 12, 2011

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Nancy Pelosi was born in March 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland, the youngest of six children. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., served as both a U.S. congressman in Maryland and as the mayor of Baltimore.

In 1962 Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, DC, and then interned for Maryland's Democratic senator Daniel Brewster before moving, with her husband, to San Francisco in 1969.

Following her relocation, Pelosi became increasingly involved in politics. In 1977 she was elected Democratic Party chairwoman for northern California. Around that time, she befriended Phillip Burton, the Democrat congressman representing California’s Eighth District (which includes most of San Francisco). When Burton died in 1983, his wife, Sala, succeeded him in office. Three years later she was diagnosed with cancer and chose Pelosi to be her successor within the party, thereby assuring Pelosi the backing of the Burtons’ political allies.

Mrs. Burton died on February 1, 1987, just a month after she had begun her second full term in office. In a special election to determine who would fill Burton's now-empty House seat, Pelosi narrowly defeated San Francisco supervisor Harry Britt and took office on June 2, 1987. Since then, she has been re-elected every two years.

In 2001 Pelosi became House Minority Whip. The following year, she was named Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, thereby becoming the first woman in American history to lead a major party in the U.S. Congress. After the landslide Democrat victories in the November 2006 mid-term elections, Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House.

In January 2007, after President Bush had announced his plan to increase troop levels in Iraq in an effort to stem the violence there, Pelosi, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, condemned the plan: "Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain." Instead, Pelosi called for "the phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months."

Contrary to Pelosi's prediction, the troop surge proved to be immensely successful. Nonetheless, in February 2008 Pelosi declared the surge a “failure” that had “not produced the desired effect.”

On February 8, 2007, Pelosi appointed Joseph Onek, a senior policy analyst for George Soros's Open Society Institute, to be her senior counsel.

In April 2008 Pelosi traveled to Damascus to discuss foreign policy issues with Syrian President Bashar Assad. She made this trip against the wishes of President Bush, who said that it sent "mixed messages" and undermined U.S. policy vis a vis what he called "a state sponsor of terror." Former State Department official Robert F. Turner saw Pelosi's Damascus trip as a felonious violation of the Logan Act of 1798, which calls for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American who, "without authority of the United States," tries to influence a foreign government's behavior as regards any "disputes or controversies with the United States."

After her trip to Syria, Pelosi told reporters: "[Our] meeting with the president [Assad] enabled us to communicate a message from [Israeli] Prime Minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks as well." But in fact, Olmert had conveyed no such sentiment. Israel's position remained what it always had been: its participation in peace talks with Syria was contingent upon the latter ending its support for terrorism.

In July 2008 Pelosi characterized President Bush as “a total failure” who had lost “all credibility with the American people on the war, on the economy, on energy, [and any other issue].”

In April 2009, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a non-partisan government watchdog group, named Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as its 2008 “Porkers of the Year” because of what CAGW viewed as their consistent record of fiscal irresponsibility.

During the Bush administration, Pelosi characterized waterboarding -- an enhanced-interrogation technique which the CIA had used on a handful of high-value terrorist suspects -- as a form of torture that was wholly unacceptable to use under any circumstances. Moreover, she called for punitive action against those in the Bush administration who had deemed waterboarding appropriate. But in May 2009 it was learned that the CIA had actually briefed Pelosi as early as September 2002 about its use of waterboarding, and that Pelosi had never previously raised any objection. Pelosi respond to those reports by accusing the CIA of "misleading the Congress of the United States." "They mislead us all the time," she said.

In December 2009 Pelosi led at least 20 members of Congress (and many of their spouses and children) on an all-expenses-paid trip to attend a global-warming summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. The delegation was so large, that three military jets were required to transport its members. A number of senators and staffers also made the trip, courtesy of taxpayer dollars, via commercial airliners, and many of them stayed at 5-star hotels in Copenhagen. Although Pelosi was personally responsible for deciding who went the summit, she subsequently refused to answer any reporters' questions regarding the cost of the trip.

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, during 2008-2009 Pelosi incurred expenses of some $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel -- including $101,429 for in-flight expenses such as food and alcohol. She regularly used Air Force aircraft to travel to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. Of 103 Pelosi-led congressional delegations during the two-year period, 31 trips included members of her family.

In January 2010, when Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid were leading the rancorous process by which Democrats were seeking to pass healthcare reform, Pelosi articulated her determination to enact the new legislation: “You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”

In March 2010, Pelosi stated that she wished to avoid a House vote on healthcare reform because the legislation would surely be defeated in that chamber. “Nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill,” she said. Thus she supported the so-called "Slaughter solution." Under this plan, the House would vote on a procedural motion, that is, the “rule” that is supposed to govern debate on a matter going before the House. In this case a “self-executing rule” would be used that would “deem” the Senate version of ObamaCare to have been passed. Thus lawmakers would be able to vote to approve the Senate version of the healthcare legislation -- complete with unpopular add-ons such as Senator Ben Nelson’s "Cornhusker Kickback" and Senator Mary Landrieu’s "Louisiana Purchase" -- and then be able to tell their constituents that technically all they had done was approve a procedural motion.

Also in March 2010, Pelosi told the American public that healthcare reform would "be very, very exciting. But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."

That same month, Pelosi made reference to the fact that the healthcare bill she was seeking to pass was merely the first phase of a larger effort to bring about ever-greater government control over the American medical system: "My biggest fight has been between those who wanted to do something incremental and those who wanted to do something comprehensive. We won that fight, and once we kick through this door, there'll be more legislation to follow."

In May 2010, Pelosi said the healthcare legislation was "an entrepreneurial bill, a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”

At the Catholic Community Conference on Capitol Hill on May 6, 2010, Pelosi said that she had told Catholic cardinals, archbishops, and bishops to speak about the importance of comprehensive "immigration reform" from their pulpits, and to tell their parishioners that "this is a manifestation of our living the gospels." At the same event, Pelosi suggested that her religious beliefs influenced her public policy decisions on issues such as immigration: "My favorite word is the Word, is the Word.... And ... we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word.

In July 2010, Pelosi stated that unemployemt insurance “is one of the biggest stimuluses to the economy.” “Economists will tell you,” she continued, “this money is spent quickly. It injects demand into the economy and is job-creating. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name, because again, it is moneuy that is needed for families to survive, and it is spent. So it has a double benefit. It helps those who've lost their jobs, but it also is a job creator.”

In August 2010, Pelosi spoke out in favor of Faisal Abdul Rauf's Cordoba Initiative, a project to build a 13-story, $100 million Islamic Center just 600 feet from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. Criticizing opponents of the project, Pelosi said: "There is no question that there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded [and] ginned up."

Pelosi, whose family has a net worth of more than $25 million, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. She is a member of the socialist-leaning Progressive Caucus, to whose executive committee she was named in 2002. Here is a quick look at Pelosi's policies and positions on key issues during her years in the House:

Abortion and the Rights of the Unborn:

 In November 1995, September 1996, March 1997, April 2000, June 2003, and October 2003, Pelosi voted against legislation to ban (except where the mother’s safety might require it) the late-term abortion procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. In September 1995 she voted against banning the use of federal funds for abortions at U.S. military facilities. In June 2000 she voted in favor of permitting federal funds to pay for abortions at U.S. prison facilities. In February 2004 she voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which proposed to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman. In April 2005 she voted against notifying the parents of minors who have obtained out-of-state abortions. In December 2006 she voted NO on the Abortion Pain Bill, which sought to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child.

In an August 2008 appearance on the television talk show Meet the Press, Pelosi was asked when she believed human life begins. She responded:

“I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition … St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose.” 

Pelosi is rated 100% by NARAL, indicating an uncompromising pro-choice voting record.


In July 1996 and July 2006 Pelosi voted against bills defining marriage strictly as a legal union between one man and one woman. In September 2004 she voted NO on a bill to prohibit same-sex marriage.


Pelosi voted against the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which ultimately succeeded in moving large numbers of people off of public assistance and into jobs.


In November 1997 and August 1998, Pelosi voted against the implementation of voucher programs designed to help low-income families send their children to private schools if they wished. In November 2001 she voted NO on allowing voluntary prayer in public schools. Pelosi has received a rating of 100% from the National Education Association (NEA), America’s largest labor union.


In April 1994 Pelosi voted YES on replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment. In June 2000 she voted YES on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons.

Illegal Immigration:

In February 2005 Pelosi voted against funding for “Real ID” legislation mandating higher standards for State drivers’ licenses and identification documents. In September 2006 she voted against a bill authorizing the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico. That same month, she voted against a bill that sought to affirm the inherent right of state and local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws. Pelosi is rated 0% by the U.S. Border Control, signifying that her voting record reflects an open-borders stance.

Fossil Fuels:

In February and August 2001, Pelosi voted to keep Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) closed to oil drilling. As Speaker of the House in 2008, she refused to permit this issue to be debated on the House floor. Explaining her unwavering opposition to oil exploration, she  said, "I'm trying to save the planet; I'm trying to save the planet." In October 2005 and June 2006, Pelosi voted against the construction of new oil refineries in the U.S.


In March 2000 Pelosi voted NO on $46 billion in tax cuts for small businesses. In April 2001 she voted NO on eliminating the “death tax.” The following month, she voted against a tax cut package of $958 billion over 10 years. In October 2001 she voted NO on a $99 billion economic stimulus package. In April 2002 she voted against making President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts permanent. In May 2004 she voted against making permanent an increase in the child tax credit. In September 2004 she voted NO on providing a series of tax relief measures. In December 2005 she voted against retaining reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

Patriot Act:

In October 2001 Pelosi voted to pass the Patriot Act anti-terrorism legislation. However, in July 2005, December 2005, and March 2006, she voted against bills reauthorizing and extending the Act.

Military Affairs:

Though she supported the Clinton administration's military measures in Haiti, Kosovo, and Bosnia, Pelosi opposed the 1991 and 2003 wars in Iraq (both of which were led by Republican presidential administrations).

In October 2002 Pelosi voted against the joint congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. “This is about the Constitution," she declared. “It is about this Congress asserting its right to declare war when we are fully aware what the challenges are to us. It is about respecting the United Nations and a multilateral approach, which is safer for our troops.”

In October 2006 Pelosi said: "If we [the U.S. military] leave Iraq, then the insurgents will leave Iraq, the terrorists will leave Iraq." On another occasion she elaborated: "If the President wants to say the war in Iraq is part of the war on terror, he's not right…The war on terror is the war in Afganistan…. The jihadists in Iraq [will] stay there as long as we're there. They're there because we're there."

In May 2007 Pelosi voted in favor of an amendment to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 90 days. In May and June 2008 she voted NO to funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military Commissions:

In September 2006 Pelosi voted against a bill authorizing the President to establish military commissions to try detained enemy combatants in the war on terror.


We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.