How Nancy Pelosi Became the Most Powerful Woman in U.S. Politics | NYT News

How Nancy Pelosi Became the Most Powerful Woman in U.S. Politics | NYT News
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    Nancy Pelosi has led the Democrats in the House
    for the last 16 years.
    She's been in power for the party's highs —
    and lows.
    "Sweeping, stunning Republican victories
    all across the country —"
    "President of the United States."
    After squashing an internal rebellion,
    Pelosi will again be speaker of the House
    now that Democrats are back in the majority.
    "I couldn't be more honored."
    So, what are the tactics that have kept her
    in power for so long?
    "Good morning."
    Pelosi's affinity for politics may be genetic.
    "Well, I was born into a political family
    in Baltimore, Md.
    My father was in Congress when I was born
    And my — he was mayor my whole life,
    from when I was in first grade
    to went away to college."
    But despite being raised in political circles,
    Pelosi didn't jump in right away.
    Instead, she moved to San Francisco with her husband
    in the late 1960s and raised their five children
    as a stay-at-home mom.
    But as they grew up, Pelosi decided to enter the fray.
    Pelosi quickly rose through the ranks
    of the California Democratic Party,
    earning a reputation as a star fund-raiser.
    And in 1987, she won a seat in Congress.
    Through the '90s, Pelosi navigated the party
    in Washington, becoming leader in 2003.
    "Thank you all, very much."
    Since then, she's raised millions for the Democrats.
    Over the years, Pelosi has earned a reputation
    as a shrewd legislator,
    especially when it comes to corralling votes.
    Her tactic:
    Rewarding loyalty with good roles and coveted assignments,
    and punishing those who cross her.
    Exhibit A:
    When Representative John Dingell didn't support
    Pelosi for Democratic whip,
    she eventually backed someone else
    to take one of his committee seats.
    Pelosi has never been shy about how she
    feels about her leadership.
    "Well, I'm a master legislator.
    I think I'm the best person to go forward to unify.
    I have a strong following in the country.
    Thank you."
    And while her confidence has likely paid off,
    it also provides a counter to her other public persona:
    Democratic bogeywoman.
    Pelosi's long tenure has
    made her an easy target for the right:
    "Amy McGrath is a Nancy Pelosi liberal."
    "His name is Conor Lamb,
    but in Washington
    he'd be one of Nancy Pelosi's sheep."
    And occasionally for the left:
    "I didn't support Nancy Pelosi for any leadership position."
    "We need some new leadership."
    But when asked, she just shrugs it off:
    "I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly."
    Pelosi is no stranger to a fight or a quick retort.
    "Please don't characterize the strength
    that I bring to this meeting."
    She's battled President Bush and recent G.O.P. leaders.
    "Mr. President, 'stay the course' is not a strategy.
    It's a slogan."
    "Say one nice thing about Paul Ryan."
    "There's a big difference between the president and me:
    He has very thin skin
    and I have very thick skin."
    And with at least two more years to spar
    with President Trump,
    there are inevitably more fights to come.
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