Pelosi Defends Clinton, Does Not Yet Endorse

Prlosi defended Clinton from GOP attacks Thursday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from attacks on her record from Republicans, but stopped short of an endorsement.  

"Not right here now in this room, no," said the California Democrat when asked if she was endorsing the former secretary of State for the White House.  

Pelosi said that if House Republicans want to open additional investigations into Clinton's records, she wanted to know the scope.  

"Are they so afraid of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail that they have to have some subterfuge to change the subject, pull the conversation over here," Pelosi said. "Affordable Care Act, Benghazi, contraception, that seems to be their obsession."  

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, had told Politico that he intended to open one such probe, focusing on Freedom of Information Act issues related to the private email server that Clinton used while serving as the top diplomat. Chaffetz said the inquiry would not focus only on Clinton.  

"If they want to have public exposure of all the records," Pelosi said, "I would like to expose the records associated with their going into Iraq. Because at the time, as many of you know, I said the intelligence does not support the threat."  

She reminded reporters how coverage often focused on the superficial issues, rather than the deep flaws in intelligence gathering.  

"Isn't it shocking that your colleague, Brian Williams, more attention was paid to how he covered the war, than the war?" Pelosi said at the weekly press briefing.  

The former NBC Nightly News anchor, who has been leading breaking news coverage for MSNBC lately, was suspended from the network for six months amid controversy about fabricated stories from his time in Iraq.  

Pelosi on Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Steny Hoyer and ‘abortion on demand’ 

In raising Iraq, Pelosi made a point that Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., might actually be able to use to his advantage.  

On the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders has regularly pointed how he was among the lawmakers to oppose the authorization for war in Iraq during the George W. Bush administration, while Clinton supported it.  

Pelosi did, however, say that Clinton is a "progressive," rebutting what Sanders has said on the campaign trail about the former first ladies bona fides with those on the left.  

Contact Lesniewski at nielslesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @nielslesniewski.

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