Nancy Pelosi Ousted as House Speaker, John Boehner Waits in Wings

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Boehner's promise that Republicans will vigorously pursue reforms, improve transparency and work to break through the partisan gridlock echo promises Pelosi made in 2007 when she assumed control of the House.

Pelosi can point to an impressive and controversial list of legislative achievements including an unprecedented economic stimulus package, landmark health care bill and an overhaul of the financial system.

But Americans' frustration with the slow pace of economic recovery and skyrocketing federal deficits – and disillusionment with the ethics scandals and political mudslinging that have plagued the 110th Congress – has been largely projected on the Democratic Party and its leadership, including Pelosi.

Her diminished popularity was evident throughout the 2010 campaign, from the Republicans' nationwide "Fire Pelosi" bus tour to embattled Democrats' attempts to distance themselves from her.

Pelosi raised more than $50 million for the Democrats' reelection efforts this cycle, according to her press office, holding 194 political events in 24 states. But she largely stayed clear of the spotlight, absent from Democrats' political ads and rarely sharing the stage with members she endorsed.

When Pelosi became Speaker in 2007, 46 percent of Americans viewed her favorably. Today only 29 percent still hold that view, according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Speaker Pelosi Prepares to Exit Her Post

Many moderates also grew to dislike Pelosi's thumb-in-the-eye style of politics, exemplified by her occasional disregard for bipartisanship, notably with passage of health care reform.

"You strive for bipartisanship when you can. When you find your common ground, that's great. If you don't find your common ground, you have to stand your ground," she told ABC's Diane Sawyer earlier this year.

She's also faced scrutiny for a slew of high-profile ethics cases to hit members of the House Democratic caucus, including Reps. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters.

"The most 'open, honest, ethical congress in history' has been a failure on all three fronts," Ken Spain, communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, told ABC News. "It's ironic that the Democratic majority that came in with such a bang four years ago is going out with a whimper behind closed doors."

Despite the criticism,Pelosi has persistently stood by her record as speaker.

"We [Democrats] are very proud of the agenda that we have put forth to the American people," she said in a recent interview with ABC News. "Our recovery package, as the economists have said, we've had twice as many people unemployed as there are now if we had not moved forward. These actions are all controversial because we were digging our way out of a deep ditch."

As Pelosi prepares to exit her post, so too will a number of congresswomen this year, marking perhaps the first time in 30 years fewer women will be in Congress after an election than the year before.

ABC News' John Parkinson contributed to this report.

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