Pelosi Rebuffs Reporters on CIA Controversy

Posted May 22, 2009 at 10:38am

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to take questions Friday about her controversial statements last week that the CIA misled her seven years ago on its use of waterboarding on terrorist detainees.

“I have made the statement I’m going to make on this,— Pelosi said at her weekly press conference. “I don’t have anything more I’m going to say about it. I stand by my comment.—

Pelosi took only a handful of questions after a 25-minute filibuster that included Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, reading a letter from his credit card company and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) giving a history of children’s health insurance legislation.

Leaving the press conference with a mob of reporters in tow, Pelosi tersely reiterated that she was not going to discuss the CIA issue further and that it has not been a distraction.

Before disappearing into her offices, she responded to a question about Republicans using her as a political target next year by citing poll data.

“The thing is that we win elections when the American people agree with our policies,— she said. “I think you saw the Gallup Poll [on Thursday] … 50-something to 30-something, people think Democratic leadership is taking us in the right direction,— she said.

Before the press conference, Republican staffers were handing out press releases from conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) calling for the revocation of Pelosi’s security clearance. Pelosi ignored a shouted question about King’s request as she left the room.

And as the press conference was ending, Republicans were already pouncing on her tight-lipped performance.

“Speaker Pelosi stammered and filibustered around the elephant in the room because she knows full well that she has become a political liability to her fellow Democrats in Congress,— said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.