SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Nancy Pelosi, the nation’s first female House speaker, said Friday she will try to keep her spot as leader of the House Democrats despite huge election losses that cost her party the majority.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Pelosi, a California liberal, rejected pressure from moderate House Democrats—and even some liberal allies—who said the widespread defeats cried out for new party leadership.

Pelosi, 70, will seek her colleagues’ support to become House minority leader when the new Congress convenes in January. That would keep her atop the Democratic House caucus, which will number about 190 people next year. But it would mark a big drop from being speaker, which carries tremendous power to influence legislation and is second only to the vice president in the line of presidential succession.

House members elect their respective party leaders, although the entire House elects the speaker. That post is almost certain to go Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the current minority leader.

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“Our work is far from finished,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues. “As a result of Tuesday’s election, the role of Democrats in the 112th Congress will change, but our commitment to serving the American people will not. We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back.”

Pelosi said many colleagues “have called with their recommendations on how to continue our fight for the middle class, and have encouraged me to run for House Democratic Leader.”

Dozens of Republican House candidates attacked their Democratic opponents by tying them to Pelosi and suggesting they would do whatever the San Francisco liberal asked.

Several Democratic lawmakers in conservative districts vowed to oppose Pelosi as speaker, but some of them lost all the same.

One who did survive, Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, had said he might challenge Pelosi because the party needs a more moderate leader. Shuler noted that he lost his job as Washington Redskins quarterback in 1997 after the team performed poorly.

As the magnitude of Tuesday’s election losses sunk in, even some longtime supporters of Pelosi said she needed to step aside as the party leader.

“As good a leader as she has been, I don’t think she’s the right leader to take us forward,” Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., told WHAS-TV in Louisville on Thursday. He said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who has ranked second to Pelosi for years, would be “a perfect spokesman for the Democratic Party in the House.”

Hoyer is more centrist than Pelosi, and the two have long had a cordial but somewhat wary relationship.

Hoyer might retain his second-ranking status, which would make him the new minority whip. But it’s possible that liberals will try to oust him from the shrunken leadership ladder to prevent fellow liberals from being demoted.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. s says:

    You gotta be kiddin me! Hello No one wants you in there any more Nancy

  2. Linda in San Jose says:

    Nancy needs to get the hell out of Washington. She does not have a clue as to what the people of this county want, she believes She knows what is best for all of us. Go Away Nancy!

  3. td says:

    Give it a rest Nancy… Go home and forget You are an old B***ch..
    The vote has been cast. and your team lost…
    We are tired of you anyway, you will; be voted out when your trem is up anyway…

  4. dead_than_red says:

    tell ya what, conservanazi asshats..

    you all hate California so much? Why don’t you pack your stuff and move to Kin-tucky, I’m sure Rand Paul will be looking out for YOUR best interests. I bet too, he’ll be happy to look the other way why you all erode the liberties of anyone who doesn’t look, think, or act just like you.

  5. FR says:

    Seriously…. She didn’t get the memo??? no one wants her around…. Please do us a favor and step down… enough damage already…. I see how she really hears the American People….. So much for “the people have spoken”

  6. hillary says:

    I’m glad there are some smart people in CA who know what an idiot she is. The rest of the county LAUGHS at her. Figure it out Kin-tucky.

  7. Paul says:

    The problem with this country is clearly reflected by many of the above comments, which are written by people who can be classified as low informed voters. Not withstanding how reactionary many of these Americans are, but instead of doing research (which requires time and some skills), they’d rather believe sound bites and venomous diatribe put forth by “geniuses” such as Sarah Palin. These so-called patriotic Americans would rather support the ignorant buffoons that got our country into the mess Obama is trying to solve. Many people who hate Pelosi and Obama are facists, sexists and racists. That’s the bottom line for their choices and ignorant remarks. Send them to Kansas for a few months and they’ll be recanting their rhetoric and eating their shoes.

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