"If you look very carefully at what President Obama did this week, it was really brilliant," she said. "It's our first responsibility to protect the American people, as elected officials. And what the president puts forth was very wise. He said he's going to close Guantanamo, take the time to do it. You can't just go down there today and say, everybody out and lock the door. They're going to review the cases, narrow it down, and then go from there."
Pelosi also dismissed a suggestion put forth by Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., of the Defense Appropriations Committee, that the detainees be housed at Alcatraz, in Pelosi's own district.
"Perhaps he has not visited Alcatraz," Pelosi said. "Bill Young is a great member of Congress and I have a great deal of respect for his opinion. Alcatraz is a tourist attraction. It's a prison that is now sort of like a -- it's a national park."
Pelosi spoke out in her "This Week" interview against reports that she urged New York Gov. David Paterson not to appoint Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to fill the seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"My concern ... as speaker of the house, is of all the choices that he has, this is a district that is important to us," she explained. "We worked very hard to win that seat. And so, of course, I want to keep my numbers here. ... My concern is, can they all be re-elected, can we win this seat?
"I don't have an uneasy relationship with Kirsten," she said. "I appointed her to the Steering Committee when she came here, a very coveted position. And now just recently, the past few weeks, named her to be head of our women's leave effort, again, much coveted by other members at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."
On Caroline Kennedy, who withdrew herself from the running earlier in the week, citing only "personal" reasons, Pelosi said the tough scrutiny she faced after throwing her hat in the ring for the vacant seat comes with the territory.
"Politics is a brutal business, it really is brutal. And once you put yourself out there as a possible candidate for an office, you know, you're in the arena, the fight begins," she said. "She is great, highly intelligent, has done so much for education in New York, written books on our Constitution, which is the oath that we take here. I think she would have been a great senator. But the fact is Gov. Paterson had many excellent choices."
But Pelosi did make clear that more women are still needed in Congress.
"I broke through the marble ceiling, forget the glass ceiling. In this Congress, it's a marble ceiling. It's over 200 years of pecking order that was very all-male and predicted long into the future," she said. "We need more women. At the rate we're going, it's going to take too long to get parity. We have to have some breakthroughs. And we have. I always said it's harder to be speaker than be president of the United States."