House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, piqued with White House pressure to accept the Senate health reform bill, threw a rare rhetorical elbow Tuesday at President Barack Obama, questioning his commitment to his 2008 campaign promises.
A leadership aide said it was no accident.
Pelosi emerged from a meeting with her leadership team and committee chairs in the Capitol to face an aggressive throng of reporters who immediately hit her with C-SPAN’s request that she permit closed-door final talks on the bill to be televised.
A reporter reminded the San Francisco Democrat that in 2008, then-candidate Obama opined that all such negotiations be open to C-SPAN cameras.
“There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail,” quipped Pelosi, who has no intention of making the deliberations public.
People familiar with Pelosi’s thinking wasted little time in explaining precisely what she meant by a “number of things” — saying it reflected weeks of simmering tension on health care between two Democratic power players who have functioned largely in lock step during Obama’s first year in office.
Senior House Democratic leadership aides say Pelosi was pointedly referring to Obama’s ’08 pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class, which she interprets to include a tax on so-called Cadillac health care plans that offer lavish benefit packages to many union members.