Nancy Pelosi says midterm elections 'are just a question of turning out the vote'

The speaker told ABC News she was optimistic, though her party faces headwinds.

October 7, 2022, 10:31 AM

In a recent ABC News interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she felt clear-eyed about the contrast between her Democratic Party and the Republicans hoping to oust her from power in the midterm elections.

But Pelosi was also clear, she told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Hulu's "Power Trip," about what it would take to win in November -- despite major political headwinds like high inflation and a sour mood on the economy.

Pelosi saw it another way, and as evidence she cited the Supreme Court's divisive ruling striking down nationwide abortion access, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

"We know that the public is with us, it's just a question of turning out the vote," she argued. "Any doubt that anyone might have in their minds about the enthusiasm of the Democratic voter -- should be dispelled by the Dobbs decision."

Power Trip
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Power Trip

"Power Trip" follows 7 young reporters as they chase down candidates in the lead up to the midterms with George Stephanopoulos guiding them along the way.

The California lawmaker stressed how few Republicans in the House had supported a law ensuring access to contraception and how none had voted to codify abortion access into federal law.

"Our races are discrete," she acknowledged of the midterms, in which a resurgent GOP hopes to flip at least the handful of seats needed to erase Pelosi's majority.

"But," she said, Democrats could press another advantage: "Going into each race with the contrast of what that member of Congress or that candidate said about Social Security, Medicare, a woman's right to choose, a ban on abortion and undermining our democracy -- and that is what they [Republicans] are trying to do."

"You've got a lot of Republicans on the ballot who still don't accept the last election," Stephanopoulos told her of those who falsely deny the results of the 2020 presidential race.

"Well, that's pathetic," Pelosi told him, adding, in a nod to football coach Al Davis, "Just win, baby."

PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, Sept. 22, 2022.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, Sept. 22, 2022.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

ABC News polling shows there are major challenges to such a feat as voters say that the economy and inflation remain key issues -- while giving low marks to President Joe Biden on each. Democrats also have to contend with a long history of midterm losses for the party in power.

"Our message is what this means to you in your home at your kitchen table," Pelosi said.

"Is that what people are feeling right now?" Stephanopoulos asked. "Right now they're feeling inflation, they're looking at the border, seeing people cross the border all the time, they feel crime in the cities."

When pressed further by Stephanopoulos about inflation, crime and the border -- three areas Republicans are focusing on this election cycle -- Pelosi said she didn't believe recent migrant flights by GOP governors were working and contended inflation is a "global issue."

"They can't do any more about inflation than we are," she said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a reaction to some of Pelosi's criticism, telling ABC News' Brittany Shepherd in "Power Trip" -- at an event previewing the House GOP's campaign-season "Commitment to America" -- that Democrats "can't run on their record."

"The 'Commitment to America' is a plan for a new direction, one that will make our economy strong, will make our nation safe. It'd be a future built on freedom and give us check and balance inside Washington," McCarthy said.

As to Pelosi's criticism of Republicans as a threat to democracy, given how many in the party embrace baseless claims about the 2020 race, McCarthy was not fazed. "It's idiotic," he said.

"Power Trip" releases new episodes on Sundays on Hulu.

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