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Nancy Pelosi says she sees herself in Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar: 'I was you'


Democratic House speaker discusses activist freshmen in her party

Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sat down with The Washington Post recently, and discussed how she sees herself in the freshmen Democratic women in Congress — namely, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

What are the details?

Responding to a question about whether she can identify with the new generation of female lawmakers such as Ocasio-Cortez and Omar, Pelosi said, "Here's what I see myself in them as: When I came to Congress I had no intention of running for office, shy person that I have always been."

The speaker continued, "So what I see, and I say this to them: I was you. I used to carry the [protest] signs pushing strollers...And as an advocate, relentless, persistent, dissatisfied always. But when you cross over the threshold and come to Congress, you can bring that enthusiasms, those priorities, your knowledge, your visions, your plan. But you have to want to get results. You have to get results."

Pelosi was also asked if it was more difficult to manage the moderate voices in her party, or the "more-progressive members who maybe feel a freedom to push a little more."

She denied trying to manage anyone, saying, "There are a range of views in our caucus, and we respect that. But we are unified. People compliment me and they say, 'Oh, you know, you can keep them all together.' I don't. Our values unify us."

After spelling out her vision of the Democratic agenda, Pelosi added, "So there is no management of this. It's the vitality. We invite it. We're not trying to curtail it. We're excited by it."

Anything else?

In a separate article on Monday, The Washington Post reported that Pelosi was struggling "to unify Democrats after [a] painful fight over anti-Semitism," in the aftermath of numerous controversial remarks made by Omar.

On Tuesday, Fox News reported that Ocasio-Cortez and other freshmen were "creating problems" for Pelosi and the party itself, as the newcomers have sought to push their weight around (and against) leadership.

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