Flanked by nearly 40 newly elected Democratic members-to-be, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sidestepped questions about her future as leader of her party in the House Tuesday, showering praise on her campaign committee chairman and celebrating modest Election Day gains.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” Pelosi said, “but the picture you see before you is worth millions of votes.”
She promised to answer questions about whether she would stay on as minority leader at a Wednesday press conference scheduled for 10 a.m.
“I’ll see you back here tomorrow at 10 o’clock, for those of you who are interested,” Pelosi said at the end of the event.
But the tenor of the press conference fit with Pelosi’s campaign to put a positive face on the election results that some Democrats have interpreted as a sign she will stay.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) — whom Pelosi introduced as the “gold standard of a member of Congress” — added his own optimistic take on the election results.
“It says something about our unexpected pickups that you all had to unexpectedly use your wide angle lenses,” he said referring to cameras trying to capture the more than 40 people on the shallow stage.
Pelosi and Israel both touted the diversity of the caucus, as they have done in past few days. This time they upped their praise of its place from the most diverse in U.S. history to the most diverse in the “history of civilization.”
“The Republican caucus, if you look at it, looks like a re-run of the show ‘Mad Men.’ Our caucus looks like America,” Israel said.
After outstanding races are called, Democrats will pick up 7 or 8 net seats, a modest gain compared with expectations deep into the cycle of taking back control of the House that Pelosi set with her slogan, “Drive for 25”.
“We may not have the majority,” Pelosi conceded, “but we have unity.” She added that House Democrats are ready to work with President Barack Obama.