The day after an historic election that will return the House of Representatives to Republican control, Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with ABC's Diane Sawyer about the results. Here is a transcipt of their conversation, which has been edited for clarity:
DIANE SAWYER: Madame Speaker, you woke up. What kind of day is it?
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Well, what kind of day have you been having? How is your day? It's been a day that is, of course, respectful of the will of the American people. For those of us who are engaged in government, in politics, know who's boss, and that is, that is the American people. And so, we hear a message from them.
It's also a day where, though, we're sad about some of the losses of members of great seniority and distinction in the Congress, and some very new members, who will no longer be serving with us. But I know they'll continue to contribute to society, it's just lost to the Congress.
DIANE SAWYER: What is it to look up and see name after name after name going by, people who stood up, who stood up and voted in the crunch, and see their political lives over for the moment? What do you say to them on the phone?
NANCY PELOSI: Well, what they had said to me on the phone is they are very proud of what they have done. They know, for example, in passing health care, and Wall Street reform and other initiatives, that they've done what is right for the American people. Special pride in the health care bill, because it's so historic.
And one of them said it more, most eloquently, but similar sentiment expressed by others. He said, "If I have to go into another line of work because I have voted to give this opportunity for health care for Americans, so be it. I'm proud of what I have done."
DIANE SAWYER: The President used the word shellacking in the press conference. What's the first word that comes to your mind?
NANCY PELOSI: Well, I guess that's, that probably is a good word. But I, I would say a very disappointing result. And not being as colorful as he is in that description. But it, it was, it was a tough loss. Especially since so many of the races were so very close, within the margin of differences, it was just a very few. And that's why we thought there was still an opportunity to win.
DIANE SAWYER: Truly surprised you?
NANCY PELOSI: The size? Yes. Yeah, I mean, it-- no, it didn't surprise me that it was possible. I was hopeful that, that some of the very close races would fall our way. Some did, not enough. Maybe about 20 races-- 20 to 25 races-- fell the other way. Fifteen or 20 of them fell our way, but that wasn't enough.
DIANE SAWYER: What did the President say to you and you to him?
NANCY PELOSI: Well, I don't usually discuss my conversations with the President, but you can just imagine that it was a call in which I had spoken to him twice yesterday, earlier in the day, and then in the evening. And, and we expressed pride in the work that we had done, sadness over the loss of the members who would not be returning. But again, no regrets about the health care for all Americans, consumer protections of an historic nature, Wall Street reform, the list goes on-- as to the agenda that we've put forth.