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Nancy Pelosi Elected House Speaker. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 3, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Live picture from the House floor, Nancy Pelosi expected to be -- will be elected speaker of the House and we'll be keeping an eye on that. That is it for me. Our special coverage continues right now.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Brianna, thank you some, my friend. Good to be back in the big chair. I'm Brooke Baldwin. History being made up on Capitol Hill where the most diverse U.S. Congress ever is being sworn in. Yes, finally more men and women like you representing you. Leading the charge in House, Nancy Pelosi, who will once given wield the gavel as speaker. She becomes the first person in six decades to return to the speaker's chair after losing it. Fun fact. The last was Democrat Sam Rayburn of Texas back in 1965. When asked about her milestone and what it means today, Nancy Pelosi said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, NEW SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think of it as a responsibility as we go forward. And this isn't breaking a glass ceiling, this is breaking a marble ceiling in the capitol of the United States.
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BALDWIN: CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill. Between Nancy Pelosi and her news and all these new freshmen members on both the House and Senate, you've been talking to so many of this many, what's the feeling up on Capitol Hill right now?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's an emotional day for many people, especially those incoming members. I can tell you in talking to a lot of them, the ones that make up the most diverse class into history ever, I think the moment is just not lost on them. They know their place in history. As they're sworn in today, that are feeling the gravity of that moment, their place in history. This freshman class certainly ushering in a new face to Congress as we said, the most diverse and the record-breaking number of women, certainly a big notable storyline coming after midterms. I want to highlight one touching moment, an incoming member of Congress from Minnesota, she's the first Somali woman, she posted this photo of her and her father arriving at the D.C. airport saying the last time they arrived is when they were refugees 23 years ago. I spoke to her about that moment and her father there was by her side. You could sense the emotion of the moment. Here's what they had to say.
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REP. ILHAN OMAR, (D), MINNESOTA: As we exited our planes, we realized that him and I had not returned on that same airport.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy Pelosi of the state of California has received 220.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy of the state of California has received 192. The Honorable Jim Jordan of the state of Ohio has received 5. The Honorable Sherry Bustos of the state of Illinois has received 4. The Honorable Tammy Duckworth of the state of Illinois has received 2.
[14:05:00] The Honorable Stacey Abrams of the state of Georgia has received 1. The Honorable Joseph Biden of the state of Delaware has received 1. The Honorable Marcia Fudge of the state of Ohio has received 1, the Honorable Joseph Kennedy of the state of Massachusetts has received 1, the Honorable Thomas Massey of the state of Kentucky has received 1, the Honorable Stephanie Murphy of the state of Florida has received 1.
With three recorded as present. Therefore, the Honorable Nancy Pelosi of the state of California, having received a majority of the vote cast is duly elected speaker of the House of the House of Representatives for the 116th Congress --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
-- the clerk appoints the following committee to escort the speaker- elect to the chair.
The gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Hoyer, the gentleman from California, Mr. McCarthy, the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Clyburn, the gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Scalise, the gentleman from New Mexico, Mr. Lujan, the gentleman woman from Wyoming, Ms. Cheney, the gentleman. From New York, Mr. Jefferies, the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Walker, the gentlewoman from Massachusetts, Ms. Clark, the gentleman from Alabama, Mr. Palmer, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Smith and the members of the California delegation, Ms. Waters, Mr. Calvert, Ms. Eshoo, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Ms. Lofgren, Ms. Sherman, Ms. Lee, Ms. Napolitano, Mr. Thompson, Ms. Davis, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Nunez, Mr. Sanchez, Mr. Costa, Ms. Matsui, Mr. McNerney, Ms. Speier, Mr. Hunter, Mr. McClintock, Mr. Chu, Mr. Garamendi, Ms. Bass, Mr. Berra, Mr. Cardenas, Mr. Cook. Mr. Huffman, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Lowenthal, Mr. Peters, Mr. Ruiz, Mr. Swalwell, Mr. Takano, Mr. Vargas, Mr. Agular, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Lieu, Ms. Torres, Ms. Barragan, Mr. Carbajal, Mr. Correa, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Panetta, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Cox, Mr. Cisneros, Mr. Harder, Ms. Hill, Mr. Levin, Ms. Porter, Mr. Rouda.
The committee will retire from the chamber to escort the speaker-elect to the chair.
BALDWIN: In -- this is the moment, the this is the first person in this decade to return to the speakership in the House of representatives, Nancy Pelosi in her bright raspberry dress today. Happy new year to both of you ladies. Dana, I can still see scenes of you and now Speaker Pelosi eating ice cream in her old haunt in Little Italy in Baltimore when you did that incredibly compelling interview with her. What does this moment feel like for her?
[14:10:00] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's vindication. It's a reminder that being confident and being strong as a woman is not necessarily a bad thing and not a negative. It is, you know, the fact that you can persevere over an onslaught of negative attacks, which is certainly something that she has had to deal with, mostly from Republicans over the --
BALDWIN: And will continue to.
BASH: Exactly. But being used as a club against her rank and file Democrats in ad after ad after ad, some of which rubbed off. So that's why it wasn't as easy as it was 12 years ago to get the votes that she need. She needed to make compromises. But that is a hallmark of her leadership and why and how she got to be where she is, because she understands the need for consensus and for compromise, not just across the aisle but with the people who she leads within the Democratic caucus. So, it was not a given that she was going to be able to do this again and she had to agree that she would be term limited. She is 78 years old, she is one of several Democratic leaders who are about that age, and so there was a very big push for a new generation and it was not an accident that Hakeem Jeffries who a couple of hours ago I guess it was now gave the speech nominating her. He is the Democratic Caucus chair, that he is the one to do so. It seemed to me that that was an indication that she was making clear she was passing the baton to a new generation.
BALDWIN: Gloria, what do you think?
GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree with Dana. And let me say Dana's interview with her was absolutely amazing because she was so honest about what it has taken for her to get where she is. I was sitting up in the chamber in 2007 when she was first elected speaker and was surrounded by her children and her grandchildren, and it was such a moment because of course it was the first woman speaker and here she is again having lost the House, been defeated, people in her own party saying she's too old, we need new blood, and she made it very clear as she did to Dana in Dana's interview that she knows how to count and she knows how to get things done. If you talk to anybody in the Obama administration, they will tell you, including our colleague David Axelrod, they would tell you they would not have gotten Obamacare were it not for Nancy's ability to corral her Democrats.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Obviously, we were there watching when she first became the very first female speaker, she's obviously still the only female speaker in the history of America. It was obviously an historic moment for women but she wasn't as -- she didn't wear her femininity on her sleeve and for lack of a better way to say it, her girl power on her sleeve the way she is now. When I've talked to her and seen her in other interviews since, the fact that she is very openly, aggressively, consciously trying to send messages to women of all parties in a nonpartisan way and of all professions, all walks of life that it is OK to be a powerful woman without, you know, getting all of the baggage that generally comes along with it.
BALDWIN: Sure. And I just want to remind everyone the quote, right, her daughter made news in the last 24 hours, you ladies know where I'm going to go because she's tough, man, woman in that position, not on do you have to know how to count, you have to be tough. This is what her daughter said, quote, she'll cut your head off and you won't even know you're bleeding. So that from her own daughter. And again, by Republicans, Dana made the point a second ago about how she's known to being public enemy number one, we're going into the 2020 election, she will continue to be, obviously who knows how this will evolve between her and the Republicans in the Senate and of course the guy over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I mean, how, Gloria to you, how does she handle that?
BORGER: Well, look at the way she handled the meeting with Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer before the holidays in the oval office where she came right out and I thought that was such a moment where the President was kind of implying I know you got a race you've got to deal with and it's a little difficult for you right now and she just shut him down. And she said don't characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of House Democrats. So, she wasn't going to let him get away with that. Don't characterize the strength that I bring to anything.
[14:15:00] I think that was sort of an iconic moment for her, which is you're not going to get away with that, Mr. President. As you know, in these interviews that she's been doing, she has not held back about what it's like to deal with the President. She told NBC this morning, you know, you're not dealing with science, you're not dealing with facts, it's very difficult. So, I don't think she's going to hold back because she's being attacked by Republicans. Being attacked by Republicans for Nancy Pelosi is kind of old news. I mean, she's been the poster child for, I don't know, a decade maybe.
BORGER: Exactly. So that's kind of old news for her. Now she needs to get something done and corral her Democrats and not let them overreach. I think that's her real concern right now.
BASH: Yes. And the one thing I also want to add to that is that she obviously is not afraid to stand up to the President, but there is a mutual admiration there. I mean, talk to anybody who knows the President and they will tell you that he gets it. He gets that she is powerful. What is the President known to respect? People who made a lot of money and people who can wield their power. And people who play golf. I don't know how her golf game is but he respects the fact that she can wield her power in a pretty remarkable way, much more, as he saw, than the Republicans who have led the House caucuses over the last several Congresses. And so how that manifests itself with negotiations like the one we have in front of us now, you know, who knows. But if you're looking at real bipartisan legislation, which could happen, it could happen, infrastructure, prescription drug prices, things that do matter to both parties and to in the case of prescription drugs to every consumer and voter out there, maybe it could make a difference.
BALDWIN: But staying on for a second on Trump and Nancy Pelosi and I'm sure you ladies as well being away on break for a minute, I got a lot of OK, new Congress, what's this going to mean for President Trump, what happens and what happens is, you know, this is really the first time that this President will be facing accountability in the sense that you now have Democrats in control on the House side. And I know we can't predict the future, although a lot of people wish we could, Gloria, what are the first couple of steps we will be witnessing for Democrats pushing for answers do you think?
BORGER: Well, look, the Democrats are going to be -- start off talking about the President's tax returns. They're going to want accountability on border policy. The chairman of the House judiciary committee is saying he might subpoena the acting Attorney General to appear before the committee because he hasn't been answering his request to appear. You're going to hear about ethic ethics, laws, campaign finance, and laws on guns. They're going to push back on Donald Trump and exercise their oversight ability but they can't descend into chaos. They have to prove they have an agenda to present to the American people, whether it's about drugs, prescription drugs.
BALDWIN: Let's hit pause and watch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: California here we come. (LAUGHTER)
[14:20:00] KEVIN MCCARTHY, FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Take their seats. House will be in order. Colleagues, friends and fellow Americans, it is an honor to serve with you and to welcome you to the first day of the 116th of the United States House of Representatives.
(APPLAUSE) We are here in this chamber because the faith of your neighbors and support of your families. We are here today to represent the voice and the vote of 325 million Americans. Now I would like everyone to pause. I want you to reflect on this fact. In the last 230 years dating back to the founding of our Republic, fewer than 11,000 Americans have had the privilege to stand here as a member of the House just as you do. Chosen by their fellow citizens to represent them in Washington. What an amazing, invigorating and, yes, frustrating experiment that is, representative democracy. The ink was barely dry on the constitution when Ben Franklin wondered out loud whether this new nation was capable of keeping its government and its freedom that has been granted to us generation to generation. Centuries later people still harbor similar concerns. They wonder if Congress truly represents them, if it's still capable of solving big problems. Well, there's no guarantees. It is up to us, all of us in this room, to make Congress work, to create and debate just like our founding fathers did many years ago, with courage, with commitment and resolve.
[14:25:00] We are a very small group with a very large responsibility. The burden on us 435 members is to represent 325 million Americans faithfully, to work together so that tomorrow is better than today. As Ronald Reagan advised us, America's too great for small dreams. When we work together, we succeed together as one nation. We're now entering a period of divided government, but that is no excuse for gridlock or inaction. We are at our best when we focus not on retribution but on building a more perfect union.
But while we seek cooperation, there is one core principle upon which we will not compromise, Republicans will always choose personal freedom over government control.
Now, this very floor we serve on has hosted some of the toughest debates in nation's history, but it's also some of its most noblest achievements have happened here.
This House has weathered types of triumph and crisis. It still stands because it is built not on sand but on the solid rock of constitutional principles. Today marks a new chapter in this House pursuit of a more perfect union. The country knows Nancy Pelosi as an experienced leader with three decades of service in Congress, a fighter for her causes and a true trail blazer. Even when we disagree with one another completely, it is important to remember that we are bounded together in a common cause, our love for America.
As fellow citizens and friends, let us lead together to show the people that we are truly their voice and their vote. In that spirit, in the spirit of a more perfect union and in the unshakable belief that America was, is and always will be the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
And in that spirit, I extend my hand of friendship to every member of this body. And to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, I extend to you this gavel. Thank you.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
NANCY PELOSI, NEW SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Thank you very much, leader McCarthy. I look forward to working with you in a bipartisan way for the good of our country, respecting our constituents who every one of you, I respect you and the constituents who sent each and every one of us here. They expect and deserve for us to try to find our common ground, and we must try to do that. Stand our ground where we can't but always extend the hand of friendship. Thank you, Kevin McCarthy for your leadership. I look forward to working with you. Congratulations on being the leader of the party. (APPLAUSE)
And congratulations to each and every one of you. New members of Congress, newly reelected members of Congress, thank you for your courage to run for office and to serve in this distinguished body. Every two years we gather in this chamber for a sacred ritual under the dome of this temple of democracy, the capitol of the United States, we renew the great American experiment. I'm particularly proud to be woman speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And that we all have the ability and the privilege to serve with over 100 women members of Congress, the largest number in history.