From a new profile of Nancy Pelosi in the New Yorker: “Pelosi rarely watches television, except for sports, and she hasn’t watched any of the Republican Presidential-candidate debates. She believes that Obama is in better shape than the polls indicate. ‘The Republicans are helping him a lot,’ she said. ‘The extremists—I don’t like to even use that word—those Republicans going too far, sort of stir up the Democratic base, and point out the urgency.’”
I love how she calls Republicans “extremists,” and then says she doesn’t like to use that word.
Either way, Pelosi’s assessment that Obama is stronger than the polls indicate deserves a bit of context; perhaps no figure in Washington has ever so adamantly and steadfastly insisted that a particular political outcome could not occur, only to watch that precise outcome occur, as almost everyone else expected. As I noted in June:
February 28, 2010: “Pelosi Says Democrats Will Keep Control of the House”
March 1, 2010: “Nancy Pelosi predicts Democrats will hold the House”
May 19, 2010: “Bring it on: Pelosi predicts ‘for sure’ that Dems will win House”
July 15, 2010: “Pelosi guarantees Dems will retain House in November”
September 14, 2010: “Speaker Pelosi ‘Absolutely’ Confident Dems Will Retain House Majority”
September 28, 2010: “’I fully expect to be speaker of the House five weeks from now,’ Pelosi replied.”
October 9, 2010: “Vilified or Not, Pelosi Insists She’s Winning”
Midday of Election Day, November 2, 2010: “’With the early returns and the overwhelming number of democrats who are coming out, we’re on pace to maintain the majority in the House of Representatives,’ Pelosi said.”
To refresh your memory, the Democrats lost 63 seats, more than the 39 seats required to shift control of the House.