House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday refused to commit to remaining the Democrat leader if Republicans retake the House majority.
"I said first we're going to win, and that's really the issue," Pelosi told reporters Wednesday when asked at her weekly news conference whether she would stay on. "Are we speaking a different language? First we win, then we decide."
Pelosi bristled when she was reminded of the historical data that shows the midterm elections are generally tougher for the party of the sitting president and asked whether losing would ultimately force her to retire or at least relinquish her leadership position.
"Not after that glorious introduction you gave," she said. "Look: right now, my focus is on holding the House.
"How many times have I told you over the past year and a half plus that the Democrats would hold the House, despite some of the so-called conventional, so-called wisdom in Washington, D.C., saying that in the off year the president's party always loses Congress or the seats."
Pelosi suggested past will no longer be prologue.
"The fact is that it isn't conventional and it isn't wisdom, because convention has changed," she continued. "We communicate in a different way.
"We have a different reality here now in terms of our own democracy being on the ballot, our planet being on the ballot, the future of our country being on the ballot. And, also, we always believe we will win, so we always prepare for it."
Pelosi is banking on Democrats using the issue of abortion and Jan. 6 to retain the majority.
"Mobilization to own the ground," Pelosi said. "Our distinguished Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney began that even before Jan. 6, as soon as he was chosen by our colleagues to be the chair, even before Jan. 6.
"You can imagine the momentum it picked up."
She pointed to a couple of key special election victories in New York and Alaska by a pair of Democrats that won making abortion a key issue, calling it "encouraging to our grassroots" and saying Democrats' well-funded battleground campaigns give them hope in November.
"Then, the third is of course the resources — it begins with an M, but I don't like to bring it up — the resources needed to win," she said. "So we have been ready. When the Supreme Court decision came down it wasn't a case of 'if only we had known.' No, we were ready because we believed, and we saw the urgency of it."
The Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade in June has been a catalyst for Democrats' new momentum in the midterms.
"The decision has really made a remarkable difference," she added.
"We are very proud of the success we're having, and we're fully expecting to hold the House."
Ultimately, Pelosi said, she has been a proven winner for the party, suggesting defeating a predicted red wave will keep her in power.
"There are some among you that belittle my political instincts and the rest: I got us here twice to the majority, and I don't intend on giving it up," she concluded.
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