Transcript: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Speaks to ABC's Diane Sawyer


NANCY PELOSI: Well, that would be most unfortunate. But let me just remind that when Medicare was passed, and the Civil Rights Act was passed in the middle '60s at the same time, the Democrats lost-- nearly 50 votes at that time. Because change-- has a-- place in terms of public understanding of it at the time. The American people have great wisdom. There is a give and take in politics, an ebb and flow, and how we deal with that is the obligation that we have to them to find common ground.

So, I-- I don't-- I don't-- think they're going to take health care apart. There are certain parts of it that we all may want to review-- one way or another. Put it up there. But the fundamentals of it, you know, when we have our patients' bill of rights about no preexisting conditions, and those provisions, they are-- they cannot be there unless you have this basic structure of health care reform.

So, when we have this debate piece by piece, I think the American people will see how they like pieces of it, and how they relate to each other. And that some of that-- you know, a 1099, it was a Senate provision. We didn't like it in the House. The President mentioned it today. We've already passed on the floor-- the repeal of 1099 in the House of Representatives. So, you know, there are certain pieces of it that should always be subjected to review.

DIANE SAWYER: Some members of Congress and some members of your team have indicated that the White House had no comprehensive plan to communicate what was in the bill. Did the White House let you down?

NANCY PELOSI: No. No. I'm very proud of the President's leadership role. All of the things that we have accomplished would not have been possible without his vision and his leadership. And-- and it's-- we were doing the work. Maybe we should've been talking about it more. But again, the only message-- that is eloquent-- to someone that's out of work is the message of a job. And that's what we continue to work for, and we will continue to work for. And welcome-- I congratulate-- John Boehner. I assume that he will be the Speaker. That's what I hear. And-- look forward to-- seeing what ideas they will put forward with job creation. We've invited them before. They've said no. Now it's their turn to initiate. We look forward to giving them cooperation to create jobs.

DIANE SAWYER: Let's just talk of compromise. At the time, you felt you had to deliver that health care bill, even with no Republican votes. What's changed?

NANCY PELOSI: Well, that's what-- we-- didn't mean there wasn't compromise in the bill. I myself was for a public option. I had many things in the bill that I was personally committed to for-- for decades-- that didn't make the cut. And-- that bill itself was a compromise. You'd never know that about-- how it was misrepresented.

It-- in fact, went through three committees in the House, two in the Senate. Five committees of jurisdiction with bipartisan participation, hundreds of Republican amendments considered, some accepted, some moderated. So, this idea that it had no imprint from the Republicans isn't so. We just didn't have any Republican votes because they wanted to hold it up.

DIANE SAWYER: What's the best thing about John Boehner?

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