House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the Health Care Bill

NANCY PELOSI: Well, as Speaker, let me say this, every bill is a heavy lift. It's all very difficult. Because we have a very diverse caucus. 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. And in addition to that, you want bipartisanship, but you cannot let the lack of bipartisanship stand in the way of making this change that is important to the American People. So, every bill that I take up here is, again, a heavy lift. By and large -- I mean, on this substant -- big bills. This bill was almost easier for me, for two reasons. One, everybody was in it. You know, some bills -- you're -- it's supposed to look easy, but it's really hard. This one, everybody knew it was difficult. There was a tremendous amount of interest in it. And I loved doing it. Universal access to health care for all Americans. Saving $1.2 trillion for the American People. 32 million people insured. Children, young adults, seniors, women, small businesses, our economy all bene -- benefiting from it. It was fun every day.

Nancy Pelosi on the Health Care Bill

DIANE SAWYER: Did you say to yourself this morning, "This was historic. This is the morning after the night we made history"?

NANCY PELOSI: I did. But I've been saying that for awhile, because I've been thinking, "I know -- for some reason this does not succeed, I will take that responsibility. But if it -- but if it passes, there will be many, many people responsible." And the President of the United States first among them, but my leadership team, Steny Hoyer (PH), Jim Cyland (PH), the whole leadership team. The Members, each individual one, was such a bonding around their duty to public service and to make this happen.

DIANE SAWYER: Pretty amazing things being said. The Economist said that you are arguably the most powerful woman in American history. A Brown University professor has said you are certainly the most powerful Speaker in 100 years.

NANCY PELOSI: That sounds good. (LAUGH) I don't -- I don't take it personally, except I take it as a compliment for all women. Because as the first woman Speaker, I certainly wanted to demonstrate that we could get a job done that has eluded others for -- for a century. But -- it -- it's -- it's exciting, because again -- my sisters here in the Congress, this was a big issue for us, because women know as caregivers, as mothers and the rest, how important this is.

DIANE SAWYER: And when the Republicans say they can run against you in November and this will be their ticket to win.

NANCY PELOSI: They've been saying that -- they said it in '06. They said it in '08. And we believe that when we can clear the fog of the misrepresentations that have been made about this legislation, largely instigated by the insurance companies to keep them reaping obscene benefits -- profits at the expense of the American People -- that -- we will -- we will do justice behind it.

DIANE SAWYER: And when you say, "I'll take the hits. Let 'em come at me." You mean it?

NANCY PELOSI: I'm in the arena. You become Speaker of the House, you're in the arena. You are the target. And -- you have to -- shall we say -- almost enjoy that.

DIANE SAWYER: One question. What do you think your dad and your mom would have said about this moment?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...