Pelosi: Democrat ‘threw me under the bus’


California Democrat Xavier Becerra has learned a lesson about calling out Nancy Pelosi.


In the run-up to this month’s House vote on health care reform, Becerra suggested to the Congressional Progressive Caucus that party leaders gave up too easily on the favored “robust” public option.

That didn’t sit well with the speaker, and witnesses said she made her displeasure known to Becerra and other top Democrats at a subsequent leadership meeting.

“I understand I have tire tracks on my back because Xavier threw me under the bus,” witnesses quoted Pelosi as saying. The speaker went on to accuse Becerra of trying to improve his “street cred” with progressives by undercutting her.

Becerra was back on the hot seat on Monday, when Pelosi demanded to know why seven members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had voted for the anti-abortion Stupak amendment before final passage of the health bill, even after she had acceded to the CHC’s wishes in preventing an immigration amendment from being considered on the floor.

Becerra, a former CHC chairman, expressed surprise at the number and replied that he had tried to turn the votes of the two Latino lawmakers he knew would vote against her, according to sources familiar with the exchange.

Attendees of Monday’s meeting drew different inferences from Pelosi’s line of questioning — with one group seeing it as a second rebuke of Becerra and another portraying it as the speaker simply asking the member of the leadership with the strongest connection to the CHC what he knew about votes that irritated her.

Pelosi, who used to keep a favor file for her father, the former mayor of Baltimore, clearly has a mental list of those who wronged her as she tried to collect votes for the centerpiece of the Democrats’ domestic agenda. That Becerra caught her eye — and her ire — is noteworthy because he is a protégé of Pelosi’s who won the post of caucus vice chairman in large part on the strength of her camp’s support.

Becerra declined to comment directly when asked about Pelosi’s harsh treatment. Looking startled by the question, Becerra paused, grinned, walked away and called out, “It was a good vote” — referring to the eventual 220-215 tally on health care — as he ducked into a Democratic Caucus meeting…

…Democrats say Pelosi’s bad side is not a good place to be — even for one hot minute.

“She has a long memory,” said one former Democratic leadership aide.

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