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Speaker Pelosi on "Charlie Rose"

Speaker Pelosi on "Charlie Rose"

Charlie Rose - March 13, 2009

Charlie Rose:

Nancy Pelosi is here. She is, as you know, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She is, as you know, the most powerful woman in the U.S. government and one of the two or three most powerful people in the U.S. government. She plays a key role in the government's response to the country's challenges, especially the economic crisis. Congress recently passed a $787 billion economic stimulus package. It may soon consider additional funds to stabilize the nation's banks. At the White House today, President Obama met with his top economic advisers and outlined his administration's efforts.

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President Obama also addressed the downturn in the speech to business leaders yesterday. The president said the crisis forced his administration to adopt a bold agenda.

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Charlie Rose:

I am pleased to have Speaker Pelosi back at this table. Welcome.

Nancy Pelosi:

My pleasure to be here.

Charlie Rose:

You're in New York fund raising and also meeting with the New York Times editorial board?

Nancy Pelosi:

Meeting with people up here to get some ideas about how they see the economic situation. As you know, New York takes a big bite of this wormy apple in terms of the economic --

Charlie Rose:

Certainly on the financial side.

Nancy Pelosi:

-- on the financial side.

Charlie Rose:

Tell me what people are asking you as you go around the country, when you go back home to San Francisco, when you go to where you came from, Baltimore. When you travel to New York. What is it they want to know?

Nancy Pelosi:

People are more optimistic outside of Washington D.C. than they are inside of Washington. They want to -- they want to be sure that we stick to our path which is to take us out of this economic challenge and not be afraid to do so. But it's interesting, because in Washington, the pundits, this, that, question this or that, but outside the country people have much more confidence. They're afraid, of course, for their own financial situation and so they're making some adjustments in that respect. But they thank us for the recovery package almost across the board, and there is much in it to be thankful for. Whether we're building a road, building the infrastructure of America or building the human infrastructure with education, investments in healthcare, investments in childcare and the rest, people see a benefit to themselves in this package. And now, of course, they want to see it delivered. He wonder about the president. There is so much confidence in him, and that is, indeed, well placed. We have a great president. He has a big vision for America, great intellect, great strategic thinking and eloquence to communicate with the American people.

Charlie Rose:

Does his success say something about the power of language as a political tool?

Nancy Pelosi:

There is no question that President Obama knows his way around the English language. And he knows his values and his ideas for the future. You only need look at the inaugural address to see -- and I say to people, keep reading it over and over. It was powerful when it was delivered. And in the reading of it, you see a very professorial and yet leadership, I guess they're the same --

Charlie Rose:

It was also, as I'd argue, a definition of the change that he wants.

Nancy Pelosi:

It was, indeed. But what was interesting to me from sitting near him when he made is to look out over 2 million people in the audience and imaging so many more on television and radio that -- and other means of communication. The stillness, the silence. Nobody moved when he spoke. And they listened to what he had to say. This is great, because his message was a very strong one.

Charlie Rose:

What in that speech most resonated with you?

Nancy Pelosi:

When the president began and he said that he called for swift, bold action now. And the public responded to it in a very positive way. And he said in a very shall we say professorial way, but also inspirational way, we will harness the sun and the wind and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories, and we'll invest in science, have better healthcare innovation and schools for the 21st century. Build the infrastructure of America in a new way. In just a few words he captured the priorities that are about a stronger America, that people repeat over and over again.

Charlie Rose:

Rahm Emanuel, who you know well from your service in the house and his service in the house, the other chief of staff of the president has famously said this crisis is opportunity.

Nancy Pelosi:

Absolutely.

Charlie Rose:

Some look at that and say what that means to Nancy Pelosi is some huge Democratic spending agenda that might not be able to be passed except in a difficult time on an emergency time.

Nancy Pelosi:

No. Actually, for a long time now, we had been building our science agenda. I think I've said to you, there are four words that describe what we're doing. Science, science, science, science and science in terms of science for healthcare, science for innovation, to keep America competitive and number one, science to combat global warming, and science and technology to build our infrastructure in a new forward thinking way. So we had our domestic agenda, and, of course, science to defend the American people. But focusing on the domestic agenda, the -- all that we wanted to invest in was what we could get a return on so it had to produce jobs and had to reduce the deficit. And some of the investments -- for example, in education, nothing brings more money to the treasury than investing in the education of the American people. I said the treasury, not just the economy. But the treasury. So we have a big responsibility. This isn't about some list from days gone by. This is about an agenda for the future that will, as the president has called for, create jobs in the near term but build the -- stabilize the economy as we go forward.

Charlie Rose:

In the stimulus program, there are now questions being raised as to whether it really will produce more than 2 million jobs. What is the number that you believe is possible based on the legislation that you passed?

Nancy Pelosi:

I'm still committed to 3 million plus. And I am so -- do so because the investments that we have made there. That they are reinforced by the president's budget. None of these things is disconnected. But what's interesting about this president, why it's such a joy as speaker of the house to work with him is that everything is part of a bigger vision. The goal is to create these jobs to stabilize the economy. So everything in the bill is in furtherance of reaching those goals. They have not diminished. The investments are still there. And what we have to do is have confidence that this will work. People outside of Washington do. And I think --

Charlie Rose:

But do you have confidence in a this stimulus bill will produce 3 million jobs?

Nancy Pelosi:

I do. I do. Now even more conservative economists will say 2 1/2 million jobs, something like that. But I think if we push very hard -- now, you have to see the stimulus package -- and by the way, no president in the history of our country was able to pass a recovery package of such magnitude or any recovery package for that matter, with such speed.

Charlie Rose:

And you know, you've heard this before, some criticized the president and said at the beginning, the stimulus bill looked like it was the bill written and created by the house Democrats and not a bill that came out of the vision of the president of the United States. And that, therefore, the message seemed to be a bit out of kilter with some of the things he believed in.

Nancy Pelosi:

The ones who were saying that --

Charlie Rose:

Too much spending for things that were not necessarily delivering instant stimulus.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, for example, most of those criticisms came our friends in the Republican Party, the president tried very hard, and I think it's the right thing to do. We wish that President Obama had tried to act in a more bipartisan way. You can imagine being on the minority end of that or even the majority, but not having the White House. So that part, I think, was the positive on the president's part. What we --

Charlie Rose:

Which part was positive?

Nancy Pelosi:

That he was reaching out to the Republicans and we did, too. But the fact is they didn't vote for the bill, and so they had to criticize it. But not to get into that --

Charlie Rose:

But I've heard Democrats make this criticism of him, that, in fact, it looked too much like a bill from the --

Nancy Pelosi:

Well that's not what it was.

Charlie Rose:

-- a house of leadership rather than his bill.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, when you're dealing with the senate, one bill is a proposal of the house and the senate makes its proposal and then you reconcile. But for example, one of the things that was criticized, the president said take it out of the bill and we did, but it was a very worthy thing.

Charlie Rose:

What was that?

Nancy Pelosi:

The rehabilitation of the national mall.

Charlie Rose:

Yes.

Nancy Pelosi:

This is a national treasure. It has enormous infrastructure challenges. It would have created jobs immediately. It needs to be done. And it would have been --

Charlie Rose:

Let's take that -- the president said take it out because?

Nancy Pelosi:

In other words, let's not get --

Charlie Rose:

Let's not [talking simultaneously]

Nancy Pelosi:

It's a very diversionary tactic. We're talking about here, the senate put a text package of what, 70 some -- $80 billion in there. That isn't job creating. But the other investments are. $700 billion of investments in energy, in educations, in healthcare, in building the infrastructure of America. All of which produced jobs and in doing so, bring money to the treasury, so they take us on a downturn, because fiscal soundness is essential to this.

Charlie Rose:

Let me just clear this up, though. I've also heard people in the administration say look, most of the stuff that they enacted were stuff they presented.

Nancy Pelosi:

Right.

Charlie Rose:

All right, so I'm just asking you to settle this for me, for my own understanding. That the bill we got -- the stimulus bill is essentially a bill that the administration wanted.

Nancy Pelosi:

Yes.

Charlie Rose:

Not something that they said we'll just take what the house gives us.

Nancy Pelosi:

No. It isn't that at all. These are largely the president's priorities. But they're our priorities, too. In other words, as I say, we have been working on these issues for a long time.

Charlie Rose:

A long time meaning years and years and years. And now you had an opportunity to --

Nancy Pelosi:

Now we have a signature. Yes.

Charlie Rose:

Back to the bipartisan thing. So what's the consequence of this? The president said I reached out, I have consulted with the public, I went up to see them, I've done all this. Yet they vote pretty much party line against with a couple of exceptions in the senate. I tried. Republicans say no, he didn't really try. You know, he presented us with something he couldn't accept. He didn't really listen to us. Yes. He asked us a question but no, he didn't listen.

Nancy Pelosi:

No, he listened. And the fact of the matter is, and there are many other bills that will come up and there will be opportunities to work in a bipartisan way, and I hope that they will be fruitful. Because we have some big challenges that have nothing to do with partisanship, and we want the best ideas wherever they come from.

Charlie Rose:

So you're getting good ideas from Republicans?

Nancy Pelosi:

But in terms of this -- let me -- to the stimulus for a moment, to the recovery package, for a moment, we were talking about a basic change in direction with this package. A change in -- a new direction for America. The Republicans in the House of Representatives are committed to the old direction. So this is what the election was about. So we hoped while we could accommodate some of their ideas, we gave them every opportunity to make amendments, do this or that, but some of their own people didn't vote for their amendments. Some of the Republicans didn't vote for the amendments. So understand that when this bill came forward, to take us in a new direction, and you cannot turn the ship of state on a dime but you must begin, this was a difference of opinion. I believe that the Republicans are sincere in their vote against the bill. They do not believe in these investments in energy, health, educations, infrastructure, and the rest. They don't believe in that. I don't think they voted politically. I think they voted what they believed and President Obama and the Democrats had a different idea. Their ideas are what got us here in the first place. In this terrible economic situation. We need to take a new direction.

Charlie Rose:

All right. You mentioned in that, you said take the country to a new place. What's that new place?

Nancy Pelosi:

It's a place where many more people in our country participate in the economic prosperity of America. It's a place where every American has access to quality, affordable healthcare. It's a place where we recognize --

Charlie Rose:

Universal healthcare.

Nancy Pelosi:

Universal healthcare. It's a place where we are recognizing the damage to our planet by decision that said we have made that we need to reverse. It's a place where we have to go -- we had the industrial revolution, we have the technological revolution. Now we have to have a green revolution. There has been a lot of lost time the last 8 years, missing opportunities that we have to go into the future in a more -- a way that will make change for us, that will build and economy that isn't susceptible to what we are suffering now. That says this is new, it is green, it is innovative, it is competitive internationally, it invests in education -- let me just say, this takes us to the budget. Because the three priorities that the president has in the budget, domestically, are health, education, and energy. Whether you talk to corporate CEOs or you talk to policy makers or academics, these are the three elements for a foundation for a solid economic future. We must educate our people, innovation begins in that classroom. We must invest in energy because that is the national security issue, it is a environmental issue, an economic issue, and a moral issue to preserve our planet. And healthcare is central not only to the house and wellbeing of American people, the health of our economy, but reducing the deficits.

Charlie Rose:

Are we looking also at change in which the federal government by necessity or otherwise will have to play a much more significant role in our economy?

Nancy Pelosi:

In this transition, yes. In this transition, yes. I think it's very clear that the economic situation that we are in today demands some intervention from the federal government. But I hope that that would just be a transition.

Charlie Rose:

Others suggest that it may not be and it's going to be transformative, and it is suggesting a way -- there is no exit strategy, and it is a defining moment in the history of the country that will create a different kind of state.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, here's the thing. Think of it this way instead. That many of the things we have talked about, whether it's health, education, energy, infrastructure, the financial stabilization, all are public private partnerships. So --

Charlie Rose:

Exactly.

Nancy Pelosi:

Public private partnerships. So in some cases it's moving away from a government role, and other places it's --

Charlie Rose:

In the banking case they're trying to create a vehicle so that the private sector can participate in doing something about the toxic assets. That's the new, you know, driven idea.

Nancy Pelosi:

Right.

Charlie Rose:

And bring the private sector in to buying these toxic assets.

Nancy Pelosi:

I think there is a --

Charlie Rose:

By financing the banks.

Nancy Pelosi:

I think there is a realization among all people that all the things we want to do, we need to think in public private -- public, public, all different kinds of different combinations on how we get them done, so we can leverage our dollars in a safe way, but leverage our dollars so we get more than just the appropriate dollars. Because we have big visions about what we -- big vision about what we want to do. And it's not something that's going to be funded by the federal taxpayer. It's something that is going to be spurred by that, but it's going to have market forces with the solutions, more entrepreneurial in thinking, and sometimes public private partnerships, sometimes the private sector will just take off with it. It's a very exciting time, I think a much more entrepreneurial spirit which, by the way, was the spirit of our founders. They were risk takers --

Charlie Rose:

Clearly. Now, tell me about you. What do you think is the most unfair misleading impression of you, conception of what? What's the misconception of the speaker? Of Nancy Pelosi?

Nancy Pelosi:

I don't think much about it, believe me. I really don't.

Charlie Rose:

I know you don't. Because you're too busy to do that. But it's there. And people --

Nancy Pelosi:

There seems to -- some people think there seems to be a market for saying that I am very partisan, and that I don't give the Republicans their opportunity. That simply is not true. They know in this recovery package that we had, we ask them what they wanted. They wanted certain things in there.

Charlie Rose:

What would John Boehner say?

Nancy Pelosi:

I know what he told me, but you'd have to ask him.

Charlie Rose:

What has he told you?

Nancy Pelosi:

The point is, they know what they asked for, and they asked for markups -- this is internal --

Charlie Rose:

It has something to do what [talking simultaneously] they feel like they're not being totally ignored.

Nancy Pelosi:

Markups, they had amendments on the floor and the rest. So if your thinking is in total -- almost total opposition on the economy, just let's talk about that issue, than the American people, what are you going to say? I don't agree with this economic period or they -- I'm not voting for the bill because they didn't let me have enough amendments. That's always an easy way out. If I want --

Charlie Rose:

Let me make sure I hear you. You complain about process.

Nancy Pelosi:

They complain about --

Charlie Rose:

You complain about process if the argument really --

Nancy Pelosi:

Policy.

Charlie Rose:

-- is policy.

Nancy Pelosi:

It's -- this is the three steps. If you can't win on policy, then you go to process. If you can't win on process, then you go to personality. And that's how they have decided they would make up stories about me and the rest because they -- but you know what? I'm in the arena. We have big issues. I can't be bothered about what they say about me. All I'm interested in is getting the job done. And I really want to get it done in a bipartisan way. We don't know --

Charlie Rose:

Why aren't you getting it done in a bipartisan way?

Nancy Pelosi:

Because in this first instance, they did not agree --

Charlie Rose:

With the goals? With the goals?

Nancy Pelosi:

I'll ask you. Do you think that the Republicans in the Congress and the house and almost entirely in the senate voted against the package for political reasons? Or do you think they just don't believe in taking the country in that direction?

Charlie Rose:

Well, if you listen to Mr. Cantor [spelled phonetically], he doesn't believe in taking the country in that direction.

Nancy Pelosi:

But then that's sincere. I respect that.

Charlie Rose:

Don't you agree? Mr. Cantor's speeches say I don't agree with -- I don't believe that the combination of taxes the way they want to tax is the appropriate way to tax or the people they're giving the tax cuts to will benefit necessarily. All those --

Nancy Pelosi:

So we disagree. That's -- we disagree. We say 95 percent of the country will get a tax cut under this initiative, and that is the great middle class. They have focused on the wealthiest people in America. And that is why we go to Washington to have that legitimate debate. But when you -- when that's a losing argument in the public, as you see that the public is responding favorably to the president's recovery package and to him, then you say, oh, they didn't let me have an amendment. But the fact is, I have confidence in the Republicans that they will vote in what they believe. And they don't believe in this recovery package.

Charlie Rose:

If they believed in it, they would be voting for it would be your argument, although some argue that they simply -- as a political manner in a political context, have decided that the best place to be is in opposition You disagree with that?

Nancy Pelosi:

I hope that they voted what they believed. That's why I think you go to Congress, is to vote what you believe. But in any event, whatever decision they made, I don't think they're doing well with the American people with that.

Charlie Rose:

And the argument -- that's the argument the president makes. Look who won the election. And we won the election because of the positions we articulated, and what we're doing is exactly what we said we were going to do.

Nancy Pelosi:

And that's exactly right.

Charlie Rose:

When you look at paying for it --

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, this is --

Charlie Rose:

Trillion dollars deficit.

Nancy Pelosi:

What this president received and this Congress has inherited, well, it's a trillion dollar deficit, a country in deep recession, a situation where the financial institutions are almost in shambles, but let's hope they're better than that. And did I say the deep fiscal hole that they have dug us into?

Charlie Rose:

Yes.

Nancy Pelosi:

Okay. So as we come out of that, we have to calibrate our initiatives so that they are producing jobs, they're bringing revenue in, but we don't overdo so that we are building increasing size of that deficit.

Charlie Rose:

Right.

Nancy Pelosi:

For me -- and our Democratic mantra has been pay as you go. No new deficit spending. Now, when you have a recession, you have to invest so you can turn it around. As you plan with that investment is, you have to keep an eye on the bottom line. And that's why it's important to make the investment. Education brings money to the treasury. I keep saying it. The bigless change that I think this president can make -- let's not talk about the financial institutions for now, but in terms of spending, et cetera, is on healthcare. Healthcare is an economic issue. Some people say why is this president doing healthcare when we have a financial this and that? Well, healthcare is central, is central to a competitive economy. If we have universal accessibility, quality, and affordability in healthcare, if we stop the upward spiral of the cost of healthcare, it is the fastest growing element in our economy, is healthcare. If we can contain that and reverse that, it has a tremendous impact not only on the personal health of a individual, or a business that is trying to provide health insurance for its employees, or for an economy, it has a tremendous impact on the deficit, because it has the big impact on the entitlement of Medicare and Medicaid. So what the president is doing on healthcare is about the health of America, about prevention, a healthier America. It's about competitiveness so that businesses can compete because the healthcare that they're providing is affordable, and it's about what it means to our economy, and what it means to our deficit, which is to reduce it by reducing the healthcare costs and what that means, as I said, in the entitlement. So it is a central economic issue.

Charlie Rose:

This president is committed to deal with entitlement reform.

Nancy Pelosi:

Yes. Even if he doesn't get to it right away. I mean entitlement reform is the big -- if you talk to an economist, and they talk about the necessity of the stimulus and when they look forward, though, they say we have this huge issue that's coming, rolling right at us, which is the entitlement commitments we have to make because of the generation that is coming to their 60s, is going to be a huge drain on the federal government. We're not prepared to, under the present circumstances, to pay for it.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, social security because of the bipartisan agreement between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill, a long timing a --

Charlie Rose:

When they had the special social security commission --

Nancy Pelosi:

But the two of them coming to agreement took us to, what, 2040. So we have to go beyond that, but nonetheless, that was very effective. The bigger and more immediate problem are the house entitlements, Medicare and Medicaid. And that's why, as you follow what the president is doing, always see -- I use the word integrity. The oneness of it. He's talking about entitlement reform here. He's talking about growing the economy. He's talking about making America healthier. It all comes one place, which is in healthcare. So when he talks about healthcare, healthcare reform is entitlement reform. Healthcare is an economic issue. So again, the first and most important step to addressing the entitlement issues, especially the health entitlements, which are a bigger challenge, is to reform healthcare in our country. Affordability, accessibility and quality.

Charlie Rose:

I mean the president is asking for healthcare funds in his budget without having laid out his healthcare program; correct?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, no. Not quite. Not yet. Let's say it that way. What we have received, because he's a new president and has only been in office for a few weeks, as would be the case with any new president, he has sent us an outline of his budget. We --

Charlie Rose:

We know sort of the overall number.

Nancy Pelosi:

We know what the priorities are and the number. The details will come, say, in April when he has the fuller budget, and then you will see more of it. But he's been clear about the principles. About prevention, about investments in science, about accessibility. Let me say we have a running start on some of this. And the first, second week of his presidency, he signed the SCHIP bill, 11 million children in America who are eligible to have access to quality healthcare. So he signed that piece. In the recovery package, we have initiatives for healthcare, especially the health IT, where the president is saying that the information technology, a common medical records will -- electronically recorded and conveyed, will lower cost, lower error, and improve quality, so we have taken some big steps in that regard to name two of them. In his budget, he put down a marker for a part of what the healthcare will cost and now he'll flush it out more later. It's a victory for anyone who cares about improving the health of America, to see that this president put it in his budget.

Charlie Rose:

As everybody knows, and even they know, when President Clinton was in office and the first lady at that time now the Secretary of State was short of shepherding healthcare, it famed for lots of different reasons. Are you 100 percent assured that healthcare in this Congress will pass?

Nancy Pelosi:

It's a whole new world. It's a long timing a from 1993, '94, whenever it was. So --

Charlie Rose:

First term of President Clinton, '92 to '96.

Nancy Pelosi:

Right. So it was somewhere in the middle there. It's a whole -- I think a whole new era because so much has happened in terms of technology and science and the promise of it all, and did I add, the president signed executive order on stem cell research.

Charlie Rose:

Exactly.

Nancy Pelosi:

So we know a lot more about how we can make America healthier than we did then, increases our responsibility. I believe that we will have healthcare reform. The biggest debate will be I think around the subject of whether there is a public option. The president's healthcare summit last week, I'm losing track of time, last week --

Charlie Rose:

You're in the midst of every conversation.

Nancy Pelosi:

He was asked in sort of a negative way about a public option to compete with the private options that are there. In saying that this would make it not so competitive for the private sector, if there was a public option like a Medicare piece. And the president was very direct in saying that he saw it as making it more competitive for everyone, and he said I think the public option will keep everyone honest. He used that phrase. So I believe that while no one is insisting that the package look like this before we ever sit down at the table, I think that will be a big part of the debate.

Charlie Rose:

Turn quickly to education. Are you surprised at all by his education speech in which his very strong endorsement of charter schools, his very strong endorsement of merit pay for teachers?

Nancy Pelosi:

This is what the president campaigned on. This is what he talked about for a long time. This is what members of Congress have been talking about, too. We have to invest in education in a fresher, newer way. Now there is some debate that will go and and we'll reach the place that we have to be to go forward, but I agree with the president, and I was not surprised, because transformational approach that he is taking is what he talked about.

Charlie Rose:

But he did not say as much as he is now saying about merit pay for teachers and all the implications for that. Because as you know, it's been a battleground between the teacher's union and some politicians.

Nancy Pelosi:

Right. And that will be worked out. That will be worked out. In other words, there will be a compromise or one side or the other will prevail and I think that it's really --

Charlie Rose:

And you'll be in the center of it.

Nancy Pelosi:

Let me just say this one thing. What we're interested in are results. What the results for the children? Now, let's have the discussion around that.

Charlie Rose:

Whatever it's necessary to do -- [talking simultaneously] have to come to an agreement on that point.

Nancy Pelosi:

Very respectfully have that discussion.

Charlie Rose:

All right. The whole question about the secret ballot for unions, I've had -- whenever I talk to business people, they're up in arms over this. And they'll say a secret ballot is essential and if you don't have a secret ballot, you'll see all kinds of intimidations. Now, on the other hand, you talk to people who have been in the union movement, who feel very strongly about it. They're saying it's an essential step forward for us to have a fair chance. What say the speaker of the house?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, I support the employee free choice act, but needless to say, I've also heard from some of the same folks you have. And that argument is really an oversimplification that there is a secret -- yes, there is a card check, that you check the card. Again, results. Many, many people in America, probably 10s of millions would like to belong to a union if they could, if they could take that vote and do so. This enables them to do that. If they win they win. If they don't, they don't. And there is always an option of a secret ballot, if the employees say that that's what they want. So this isn't as stark as it has been put out by its opponents. The bill that we passed last year in this house, the bill is being considered by the senate at some point, and we'll see what they do and go from there.

Charlie Rose:

The president said very strongly, he is -- he will push it, he has said, since he's been in office, that he can't -- he said he would in his campaign and he will now. Will it pass?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, it will certainly pass in the House of Representatives, and that's all I can answer for.

Charlie Rose:

Well, what's -- [talking simultaneously] do you think it's likelihood --

Nancy Pelosi:

I think so. They've had a number of cosponsors. Again, what are the results that we'll want to get, that people want to get from this? And how does this empower, the ability to bargain collectively is a strength for America's workers. Now, again, what I think we have to do is sit down at the table and say what does this actually do? Not, does it -- any scare tactics about it. And in good faith. I don't know that everybody understands what it does. Sometimes I hear a characterization of it and I think who would be for that? That's not the characterization -- that's not accurate.

Charlie Rose:

That argument is made if you don't have secret ballots, there will be harassment.

Nancy Pelosi:

But again, sit down at the table --

Charlie Rose:

Do you think there will be or not?

Nancy Pelosi:

Everybody understands it, and then decide where we can find common ground. I, myself, support the bill the way it was passed in the House of Representatives.

Charlie Rose:

And you finally decided that because?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, it's been issued for a long time. Again, not new to any of this territory. Collective bargaining gave America's workers a 40 hour week, who ever heard of something called the weekend? And so I think that there has to be a place where we can respect the rights of workers, strengthen their productivity in terms of their investment in the company that -- or whatever they're working for, and American workers, the most productive in the world. We have them on a pedestal.

Charlie Rose:

Speaking of that. What to do about the auto industry?

Nancy Pelosi:

The auto industry. The auto industry, fundamental to the auto industry is our manufacturing and our industrial base. We have to have that to be a secure country. We cannot let our industrial base erode, our manufacturing base erode. One of the biggest pieces of it is the auto industry. And so we have to find a way for these industries to be viable. And in order to do that, they have to innovate and they have to compete. They can't just drift and then come to us for life support. We're willing to give a life line, to take them few further viability and then --

Charlie Rose:

With certain kinds of conditions.

Nancy Pelosi:

With certain conditions. But is not to give a life support every 3 months. The --

Charlie Rose:

What do you think is going to happen? General Motors first said it was about to fold, then it said they may not need the money --

Nancy Pelosi:

That was great.

Charlie Rose:

It was confusing.

Nancy Pelosi:

It is confusing and it changes.

Charlie Rose:

It was welcome news from Detroit that they don't need the money.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, I think what will happen is that we will have to, again, look at results. What is it -- what is the likely market for American made cars or for cars in America?

Charlie Rose:

How many do you have to sell --

Nancy Pelosi:

What is realistic? Because some of their assumptions have been predicated on an unrealistic auto sale or auto sales, at least in the near, near -- the near term. Maybe down the road we'll be up to 14 million cars, but right now, we're not anywhere near that, so it's no use telling your suppliers, your dealers, your workers and all the rest we're predicating the assembly line on an unrealistic market.

Charlie Rose:

What's your best guess as to what will happen? Will they survive or not?

Nancy Pelosi:

Oh, my gosh. I hope they will survive.

Charlie Rose:

I know you hope so. This is really rough sledding for the --

Nancy Pelosi:

It's rough sledding.

Charlie Rose:

And is the Congress in the end always going to say even if it's piece meal, we cannot allow all those auto workers?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, it's not just the auto workers.

Charlie Rose:

I know it's the auto suppliers and everybody else.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, you think all it was is that, is because they're the ones who are always getting the haircut. But I said if somebody gets a haircut, everybody gets a haircut. So they have to look at the stakeholders, whether shareholders, the suppliers, the dealers, and the -- and the workers as well as the management. There has to be a shared sacrifice in this that can take us to a place to avoid bankruptcy, which would be very complicated and long and not --

Charlie Rose:

There are many things for you and I to talk about. I want to talk about the banks again one more time. I mean Tim Geithner is out, he's now meeting with a group of 20 finance ministers as we speak, I think. Do you think that the treasury is now on the right track to do something about the financial sector, in the same way you believe that the government is on the right track? I mean the Congress is on the right track in creating a stimulus bill that will produce jobs?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, you named two of the -- links to the --

Charlie Rose:

Right.

[talking simultaneously]

Nancy Pelosi:

Housing, and then area one which I'm not sure is the fourth or third in the half [unintelligible], that is regulatory reform.

Charlie Rose:

Right.

Nancy Pelosi:

The -- we have moved forth with our recovery package and we'll have a series of job creating initiatives that push it along or accompany it. Regulatory reform is a very high priority for the president and he and Barney Frank --

Charlie Rose:

Is that immediate or is that down the road a bit?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, the principles -- so that the President can go to the G-20 in a few weeks, he will have the principles of regulatory reform.

Charlie Rose:

Because he believes it also has to be a global regulatory --

Nancy Pelosi:

It has to be global. He wants to go in, knowing that there is some consensus with the Congress about this, and he's working with the leadership of the committees of jurisdiction, Mr. Frank and Senator Dodd who ought to go forward with that. So that is on course. Barney Frank is talking about a macro-regulatory agency which would -- which addresses the systemic -- in other words, if you're too big to fail, what is your impact on the system? So we're talking about systemic regulatory reform.

Charlie Rose:

And the chairman of the fed, Ben Bernanke, has said before, you know, we have to get away from too many of these institutions that are too big to fail.

Nancy Pelosi:

Right. But we have to -- the situation -- so from our standpoint, what we are doing with recovery we did, regulatory reform we are doing, housing the president has put forth now for the loan modifications so that will go forward, what we're also doing is credit card -- not credit -- for lack of a better word, fear to consumers. And then the other is predatory lending. So I mention these things surrounding the question that you asked because whatever they decide to do, as they -- and I do have confidence in what they're doing, because we are doing all the other pieces of it, too. So it will not be in isolation. And some of these pieces will -- are -- they're all very important. Some of them instill confidence in the consumer, in the taxpayer, in the American people, so that when they come back, say we may need to make some further expenditures with regard to strengthening the financial institutions, there will be a more hospitable climate to deal with it. Right now the American people are very angry about the banks.

Charlie Rose:

There is a stimulus bill, $787 billion. You seem to open the door a little bit to saying we might need another stimulus bill, and then you close that door by saying it seemed to me -- I'm not saying that, maybe we don't. I don't want to go that far. Clear up where you are on the second stimulus bill.

Nancy Pelosi:

I believe in the first stimulus bill. The reason -- I don't know, it's just a matter of interpretation. The press, when they said do you think no, we believe in this, we want to do this. They said would you close the door completely to a second stimulation? I said, well, you don't ever close a door completely. They said Pelosi, one interpreted it that way, the other press interpreted it as not much chance for a new stimulus bill.

Charlie Rose:

Not much chance for a second stimulus bill --

Nancy Pelosi:

I don't think there is any -- I don't know how we could justify it right now. Let this work. Let this be digested. Let's see the impact of it. At some point we will say this worked so fabulously that we don't need any more, it worked so fabulously, that we should do more of it.

Charlie Rose:

All right.

Nancy Pelosi:

And so, you know, you have to reserve judgment. You never say never, but on the other hand, I believe in this package. I think it's fiscally sound, as sound as it can be going into this. The --

Charlie Rose:

On the TARP?

Nancy Pelosi:

On the TARP, well, we've had this conversation before. About how we got here and all the rest.

Charlie Rose:

Yes, we have.

Nancy Pelosi:

No need to go into that again.

Charlie Rose:

But in a dramatic way, as you described would happen when Henry Paulson came in to see you.

Nancy Pelosi:

Yes. But -- so now we have to do things in a different way.

Charlie Rose:

But you're approving of the way they want to do it and the fact that they need more money is an open question?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, you know, we have changed -- we passed laws in the house for accountability, for transparency, for house and senate on CEO compensation. Some of the things that would get some of the confidence of the American people if, and when, and should they need another infusion, which I hope they don't. In case they do, we, again -- that's why I said all these things about predatory lending, mortgage -- changing -- the loan modifications for mortgages. Predatory lending. The cable car, thing from San Francisco --

Charlie Rose:

Okay, go ahead, yeah.

Nancy Pelosi:

All of these things, try to help the American people say some of these things -- this is what's in it for you. Barney Frank says it very well, he says sometimes you have to -- we always here about collateral damage. If you're doing something and you hurt somebody in the meantime.

Charlie Rose:

You're bombing in war and innocent people are hurt.

Nancy Pelosi:

Right. Then he said this is collateral benefit because sometimes you have to do things for the economy that may help people that you don't want to help, like the banks, but it's -- what you have to do is what's right for the economy. If they happen to benefit from it, you can't say no to it because it would hurt the economy.

Charlie Rose:

How do you characterize the anger in the country and in the Congress against the banks?

Nancy Pelosi:

Against the banks but also against the whole TARP, how the TARP was implemented to be begin with. It's very high. It's very high. Well, just --

Charlie Rose:

What's the indictment?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, the indictment is that there was some expectation that when this money went out there, it would contribute -- increase liquidity, would --

Charlie Rose:

It would get the credit moving again.

Nancy Pelosi:

Get more credit in circulation, it would help with loan modification of mortgage foreclosure forbearance, which the bill called for. It did none of the above.

Charlie Rose:

And do we know why?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, because they changed -- well --

Charlie Rose:

One, they didn't spend the money.

Nancy Pelosi:

They changed course.

Charlie Rose:

They didn't use the money.

Nancy Pelosi:

They came in and said it would be for one thing. We said you have to add mortgage forbearance to that. And then they went and did something completely different. To this day a bill that spelled out the purchase of toxic assets, if there is such as thing as a toxic asset, I think that sounds like an oxymoron to me. But in any event, the troubled paper, buy the troubles paper and they were directed by the legislation to help with mortgage forbearance. They never did any of it. Instead, they went and recapitalized the banks which may or may not be a good or bad idea --

Charlie Rose:

All done by the previous administration?

Nancy Pelosi:

Previous administration. But they didn't do what they set out to do, and now something still has to be done about that. Time has been lost. So now the administration is saying with accountability, with transparency, with compensation -- CEO compensation reform, with all of these things, we will go forward to deal with the stability of the financial institutions.

Charlie Rose:

I meant to touch a little bit on international -- again, on international economics. One of the leading officials in China was quoted today as basically saying, look. It's not a certainly thing. We are now worried about America paying back its debt, we may have bought too much, we may want to reduce our share. Does it concern you? I'm sure you're aware of what he said.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, I think that -- I don't think anybody ever need worry about America paying back its debt for one thing. But I also do think that we have to reduce our deficit. And not be so dependent on governments buying our treasury bills and the -- so --

Charlie Rose:

He probably meant there are wiser investments for the Chinese, is probably what he meant.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, that's up to them to decide. But we cannot be at the mercy. And what we must do is reduce our deficit for many reasons, including the fact that we don't want ownership of so much of our paper to be by foreign governments. So every country has to do what's in its interests, and I believe it's in our interest to reduce the deficit.

Charlie Rose:

Knowing your history, when the Secretary of State went to China --

Nancy Pelosi:

Oh, yeah.

Charlie Rose:

And said maybe we just have to -- I didn't speak about human rights because we know what they think about that, and -- another time, you must have went --

Nancy Pelosi:

No. I mean I understood why the Secretary of State said what she said. But I also note that it's been interpreted in a way that I think may be an overinterpretation. I know that the Secretary of State is a values based diplomat and that she represents, Secretary Clinton represents our country, and that what she's saying is that we do have to engage on global --

Charlie Rose:

Essentially the message came out with the economic crisis as the highest priority, we'll talk about human rights later, I think.

Nancy Pelosi:

I don't know that we'd ever spoken about human rights with China. I have been making that fight for 23 years come June. Twenty years --

Charlie Rose:

That's one thing you'd like for the administration to do, is to make human rights more a part of the bipartisan dialogue?

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, let me say this. This week was -- we observed the 50th anniversary of exiling his holiness, driving his holiness, the Dalai Lama, out of Tibet. The Chinese government is putting in all this revisional stuff on it. Well, okay. In June we will have the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre. I have said whether it's with his holiness in India right at the border of Tibet or on the floor of the Congress, if we do not speak out for human rights in China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out for it other places. Now, what form that takes what, the timing of it is and the rest, you can't say -- only the going to talk about human rights, we're not going to talk about climate change and we're not going to talk about the economy and we're not going to talk about other issues. I think that's what the secretary was saying. I had complete comfort level with what she said. We all have our roles. And I have, in my essence of my being, that I -- for 20 years they have been saying to me, peaceful evolution. If you just be patient, there will be human rights and respect for another view in China. It hasn't happened. And that's really sad.

Charlie Rose:

And you'd like to see America see that it happens.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, what can we do? What can we do? I don't think we should anoint it, what the Chinese are doing in Tibet, that's for sure. Because it's really a tragic -- Tibet challenges the conscious of the world, because we all like to think of ourselves as acting in a much loftier place in terms of human rights.

Charlie Rose:

And does Darfur challenge the conscious of the world?

Nancy Pelosi:

How many -- how many times are we going to say never again? Darfur does. I have been there. It's like you have gone -- it's as if you have gone to a place that is so sad. Now, some of my friends have been there recently, have said with the expelling of the -- the expulsion of some of the workers and stuff, that it's really awful. Others have said before then, some things were hopeful. But, again, we have to -- we have to be consistent. By the way, the Chinese were not helpful in terms of Darfur. In terms of the United Nations --

Charlie Rose:

Because they have a deal to get their oil.

Nancy Pelosi:

They have a deal.

Charlie Rose:

We haven't had a chance -- we're out of time. We haven't had a chance to talk about foreign policy, a whole range of issues. We'll have to do this --

Nancy Pelosi:

Afghanistan.

Charlie Rose:

We'll have to do this --

Nancy Pelosi:

Just came back from Afghanistan.

Charlie Rose:

You [unintelligible] your report.

Nancy Pelosi:

Well, the -- again, 7 1/2 years of, I think, lost opportunity on the part of the Bush administration. We also need a new direction in Afghanistan as it relates to how we employee our military, how we insist that governance be different there, ending the -- reducing the corruption. I don't know if you can end it. How we help with the construction and development of Afghanistan, not to build a nation, but to build support in the country for -- for the government and not the Taliban. And most important of all, how we interact with all the countries in the region. I'm so pleased that President Obama has Richard Holbrooke doing India, Pakistan, and -- he's doing India?

Nancy Pelosi:

As he's doing Afghanistan --

Charlie Rose:

And Pakistan. He's going conversation --

Nancy Pelosi:

In that loop. I think it has to be expanded to Iran, Russiaa, China, the other stands in the region. Because they all of a stake of stability in Afghanistan. It's in our national interest to make sure that forces in that region are not targeting us. And on top of that, our NATO allies have to play more of a role. That's the short version.

Charlie Rose:

It could be a test for NATO, in fact. Are you satisfied with the president's commitment to take -- to do the troop withdrawal. Combat divisions that will leave 50,000 troops there?

Nancy Pelosi:

35 to 50,000 troops. And --

Charlie Rose:

I'm quoting Admiral Mullen.

Nancy Pelosi:

Yes.

Charlie Rose:

Go ahead.

Nancy Pelosi:

You're right. They do put the emphasis on the 50, and I'm hoping it's closer to the 35. And what I have said is the good news is the war is ending. Troops are leaving Iraq.

Charlie Rose:

The bad news is?

Nancy Pelosi:

It's not bad, but the other side -- the other part of the news is that this is a large number of troops and there has to be a very focused mission that has -- as the president said, force and diplomatic protection training and advising the Iraqis and counter terrorism. But again, that's a lot of troops in country to do that. If that's what the president is suggesting, and we know there is a time certain when everyone will be out, I think that's good news for the American people.

Charlie Rose:

Thank you for coming. There are many things we could talk about. And I look forward to doing in the coming weeks. This is the time, almost the word momentous time does not do justice to the drama of what is happening today.

Nancy Pelosi:

And thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts. And it's fast moving, so I'll have some things to talk about pretty soon again.

Charlie Rose:

Thank you very much.

Nancy Pelosi:

Thank you, Charlie. Nice to see you.

Charlie Rose:

Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco, a long political family from Baltimore before that. The Speaker of the House. Thank you for joining us. See you next time.

Charlie Rose

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