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Pelosi Hopeful as Cantor Exits: 'Whole New Ballgame' (Video)

Pelosi says she's optimistic after Cantor's ouster. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pretended to hold a baseball at the microphones on Thursday morning during her weekly press conference, reiterating her characterization of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's Tuesday primary defeat as creating "a whole new ballgame."  

The California Democrat said she's hopeful that the House can tackle issues like an immigration overhaul, despite concerns that Cantor's departure will drive House Republicans further to the right, making compromise less likely.  

"Under the current leadership in the Republican side, we've had a shutdown of government, we have not passed immigration, we have not passed the Voting Rights Act which has always been bipartisan," Pelosi said. "I don't know how things can get worse than the obstruction that is already here."  

Pelosi refused to speculate about who she would like to see replace Cantor, R-Va., as the House's majority leader.  

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is looking to succeed Cantor, and he represents a more establishment position than his current opponent, Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas — though Sessions also could drop out of the race and the conservative candidate could end up being Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho.  

"Look, whoever should be the leader of the party is who has the support of their party," she said. "I myself work with Speaker Boehner. But ... I'm always hopeful that we could get back to a place of governance.  

"I am the last person to be talking about this," she emphasized.  

Pelosi insisted that she was not "gleeful" in the wake of Cantor's loss. "It's hard to lose an election," she said. "Most of us are here because of policy. We have some understanding of politics, and we all know you keep your home fires burning and the people are the boss. They speak, that's what really counts."  

"I have as much sympathy for Mr. Cantor that he would want me to have for him," she concluded.  

Sending a ripple of giggles through the crowd of journalists, Pelosi broke into a smile of her own.  

"Why are you laughing?" she asked, grinning.  

   

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