House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi found herself fending off some really awkward questions during Wednesday night’s CNN town hall, like why don’t older members of Congress step aside to allow “younger folks” to run.
Mary Pat Linnan, a retiree from Maryland, cited Quarum.us to say more than half of the senators running for re-election are over 65 years of age, while their constituents “are about 20 years younger,” before asking Pelosi if it is “time for some members to return to private service and to encourage younger folks run for office?”
“Should I take that personally?” the 78-year-old California Democrat responded.
Surprisingly — or not — Cuomo chimed in to answer Pelosi’s question, “You’re not in the Senate. You’re good.”
In a long, rambling answer, Pelosi talked about reducing the role of money in politics and, somewhat ironically, given the rancor on the left, increasing the level of civility to encourage “more women, more young people, more people of color” to run. She also cited the seniority system in Congress.
The minority leader didn’t hide the fact that she took the question personally, saying she waited to run for Congress until after she raised her five children. Pelosi said she was happy to see young women running with young children, adding that “we are trying to make [Congress] as family friendly as possible.”
“But for me, I don’t think age has that much to do with it,” she declared, going on to say the environment is changing, with younger people getting involved.
“Everybody has to justify their existence to their constituents and that’s democratic way,” Pelosi concluded. “But if you have a problem with somebody who is older, run for office. Run for office. I say that. Run for office.”
It appear that Pelosi put some thought to that advice, because she came back to the question after taking a question on health care from a teen cancer survivor.
Explaining further her 30-plus years in Congress, Pelosi suggested that she may have retired had Hillary Clinton been elected president, suggesting that she had to stay onto ensure there was “a woman at the table.”
She also claimed the mantle of the guardian of Obamacare — see Barack Obama’s last remaining legacy piece.
“To your question earlier,” Pelosi said. “One of the reasons I stayed, I thought that if we had Democratic president, a woman at the table, I could go home and be with my nine grandchildren. If they wanted me to be there, that is. They sometimes have plans of their own.”
“But we didn’t win, there wasn’t a woman at the table,” she added. “More importantly I knew I had to stay there to protect the Affordable Care Act and that is my mission.”
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