— -- In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that Democratic candidates should not be forced to hew to the Democratic Party's official line on abortion.
"This is the Democratic Party," she said. "This is not a rubber-stamp party."
"I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic," she told the Post. “Most of those people -- my family, extended family -- are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?"
Pelosi's remarks came several weeks after Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., went on a multi-stop speaking tour for Democratic audiences around the country. They caught flack from pro-choice groups after appearing in Omaha, Nebraska, to support the mayoral candidacy of Heath Mello, a pro-life Democrat.
Perez subsequently issued a statement saying that Democrats should support pro-choice candidates.
But Pelosi has sounded a slightly more big-tent approach, not shying away from her pro-choice beliefs but emphasizing that her party should not make the issue of abortion a litmus test for Democratic politicians.
"In our caucus, one thing unifies us: our values about working families," Pelosi told the Post. "Some people are more or less enthusiastic about this issue or that issue or that issue. They’ll go along with the program, but their enthusiasm is about America's working families."
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the state of the mayoral race involving Heath Mello. It also incorrectly noted Bernie Sanders’ party affiliation.