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


NANCY PELOSI: Well, let me tell you, when I get time for that, I'll call you. And I'll let you know how it feels. Because first of all, I haven't had a moment alone to even think about myself. And-- second of all-- it's a luxury at this time that I can't afford. But it is-- it-- it-- one thing I don't want it to do-- it's just really unprecedented, tens of millions of dollars spent against me -- is I don't want it to deter women from going into politics. Even the Republicans have said this might not have happened if the Speaker were a man. But I don't want it to deter women.

DIANE SAWYER: You really believe that?

NANCY PELOSI: I don't necessarily believe it. I think that I was successful. We passed health care reform, we passed consumer protection. We have-- are making college more affordable. We passed Wall Street reform. That's why I was the target. And I think that-- that any successful Speaker would be a target in that way.

But I don't want women to say, "There's no way I'm putting up with that." I have plenty of good options in my life, and after all, Congress is a place for people with options. And they-- I want them to say-- whatever it is, it's worth the results for the American people. If you have that commitment, and that conviction, and that-- it takes courage. It's not for the faint of heart. Then-- that really is important. If there's any example I would want to set is-- believe in what you're doing, and if you do, the rest of it doesn't matter.

DIANE SAWYER: You've talked about the marble ceiling. And I'd like to just show you a moment, well, a few years ago. A moment that was singular in American history.

VIDEOTAPE OF PRESIDENT BUSH in 2007: Tonight I have the high privilege and distinct honor of my own as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words, Madame Speaker. (APPLAUSE)

NANCY PELOSI: That was nice of him to do.

BUSH VOICEOVER: In his day, the late Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. from Baltimore, Maryland saw Presidents Roosevelt and Truman at this rostrum. But nothing could compare with the sight of his only daughter Nancy presiding tonight as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Congratulations, Madame Speaker.

NANCY PELOSI: That was so nice of him. That was so lovely. That was a surprise. That was so lovely. That he did it, was such, the way he is.

DIANE SAWYER: All across on the aisles, and one more tape I want to show you, which was just a little bit earlier.

VIDEOTAPE OF NANCY PELOSI: (APPLAUSE) I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship. For these children, for our children, and for all of America's children, the House will come to order. (APPLAUSE)

DIANE SAWYER: Looking back-- looking back, you've said this will not be a footnote.

NANCY PELOSI: Right. It is not a footnote. Well, being the first woman Speaker and breaking the marble ceiling is pretty important. But I think the-- the contribution is-- the legislation that we have passed for all of America's children. And it certainly was an honor to be in-- in the position to do that, to gavel the House to order on behalf of all of America's children, to be recognized by the President of the United States. And I-- I relish that. I treasure it. But it was-- it's-- it's in it's time, and it's in it's place, and now it's time to move on.

DIANE SAWYER: And if you said one thing to that woman taking that gavel, from this vantage point, it would be?

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