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House Minority Leader Pelosi, Other Women Lawmakers Find Reporter's Question Offensive

Updated: Wednesday, November 14 2012, 03:34 PM CST

A reporter's question at a House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi news conference Wednesday received boos from the assembled women lawmakers and Pelosi called it offensive. 

Pelosi was announcing she planned to stay as minority leader in the next Congressional session.

NBC reporter Luke Russert asked about her decision.  Transcript:

Russert: Some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and will hurt the party in the long term. What's your response? (Nos and disapproving sounds lawmakers behind the podium)  

Rep. Carolyn Maloney: (off mic): Discrimination. Discrimination.  

Pelosi:  Next. Next. (laughter)

Maloney: Age discrimination.  

Pelosi: I guess...Oh you always ask that question except to Mitch McConnell. (laughter)  

Russert: You, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Clyburn, you're all over 70. Is your decision to stay on prohibited younger leadership from moving forward?  (Nos from other women) 

Pelosi:  So you're suggesting that everybody step aside? 

Russert:   No, I'm simply saying does this delay younger leadership from moving forward in the House Democratic rank? 

Pelosi:  I think what you will see and let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question although it's quite offensive. But you don't realize it I guess.  (laughter) The fact is that everything that I have done in my decade now of leadership is to elect younger and newer people to the Congress.  In my own personal experience, it was very important for me to elect young women.  I came to Congress when my youngest child Alexandra was a senior in high school practically on her way to college. I knew that my male colleagues had come when they were 30.  They had a jump on me because they didn't have to stay home. Now, I did what I wanted to do. I was blessed to have that opportunity to sequentially raise my family and then come to Congress.  But I wanted women to be here at greater numbers at earlier age so that their seniority would start to account much sooner. And it wasn't confined to women though. We wanted to keep bringing in younger people.

The 72-year-old California congresswoman was speaker of the House before Democrats lost the majority in 2010. They failed to regain control of the House in this month's elections, but Pelosi says there's "so much more" she still wants to do.

On Twitter, Russert responded, "While Pelosi laughed off my Q as age-ist, many House Ds will privately gripe it hurts caucus the all 3 leaders are 70 ."House Minority Leader Pelosi, Other Women Lawmakers Find Reporter's Question Offensive


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