House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) defended herself Thursday against calls from some Democrats for fresh party leadership, saying she is confident in her caucus support and that she is a "master legislator."
In the aftermath of Democrat Jon Ossoff's loss to Republican Karen Handel in Georgia's sixth congressional district on Tuesday, Pelosi has come under fire from her party for being a weight around local Democrats' necks because of her national unpopularity. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D., N.Y.) remarked Thursday that Pelosi's time had "come and gone."
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Pelosi was defiant, however, saying a reporter's question about "some" calling for her ouster did not reflect her broader support, adding that the decision is not up to them.
"We're paving a way for a new generation of leadership, and I respect any opinion that my members have, but my decision about how long I stay is not up to them," she said.
A reporter pointed out House Democrats' heavy losses since 2010 and asked why she should stay, but Pelosi pointed to the history of the party in the White House losing seats in Congress as the cause.
"So you want me to sing my praises? Is that what you're saying?" Pelosi asked. "Well, I'm a master legislator. I am a strategic, politically astute leader. My leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I'm able to attract the support that I do."
She said she was a "target" because she was effective, adding later she felt she was "worth the trouble."
As House speaker at the time, Pelosi was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. However, the GOP has won four consecutive election cycles in House races, while she has remained the Democratic leader in Congress.