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Pelosi on tax cuts, running for minority leader, being 'demonized'

In an interview with NPR, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi talked about tax cuts, moving forward from an unsuccessful election, and why she’s running for minority leader.

On main reasons for running as minority leader:
Pelosi: I’m running to put together the strongest plan to work with the Republicans to solve problems. The biggest problem is unemployment. I hope we can work together to create jobs. And I do so with the overwhelming support of my caucus, not the unanimous support.

The Republicans have demonized you. How do you prevent that from hurting your party more than it already has?
Pelosi: Well, let me say this – when you say “more than it already has” – the reason the election results are what they are is because we have 9.5 percent unemployment in our country. We didn’t lose the election because of me. In any circumstance, when you have 9.5 percent unemployment, any party that cannot turn that into political gain should hang up the gloves, I said that before the election. The reason they had to try to take me down is because I’ve been effective in fighting the special interests in Washington, D.C. I’m also the most significant attractor of support for the Democrats. So I’m not looking back on this. They asked me to run, I’m running, and, again, our members understand that they made me a target because I’m effective.

On extending Bush-era tax cuts:
Pelosi: The position that we have, and which is the position that the president has put forth, is that everybody should get a tax cut in our country. The problem comes when you give an additional tax cut to the wealthiest 2 percent that will heap $700 billion in debt onto our children and our grandchildren.

What about a temporary extension?
Well, our position in the House has been that we support the tax cuts for everyone, but not an additional tax cut at the high end. It’s too costly. Those tax cuts have been in effect for a very long time. They did not create jobs. In fact, with the tax cuts that President Obama had in the recovery package, we have now 10 straight months of private sector job growth. So from day one, President Obama and this Congress have been job creators, at the same time giving tax cuts to the middle class, which do create jobs.

Is there an advantage to being less visible in the minority?
Pelosi: This isn’t about – it isn’t about me. Maybe the Republicans will take a course of action that will solve problems. God bless them if they do. But maybe they will pursue what they have said, which is to privatize Social Security, to make Medicare a voucher, to resist our initiatives. So it’s – the opportunity that is there is to have clarity. Maybe they will be more eloquent in defining themselves than we could have ever been in defining them.

Listen to the full interview here.