Despite telling reporters during a press conference yesterday afternoon that she would save her "parting words" for President Bush "privately," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi later the same day said on “NewsHour” with Jim Lehrer that Bush’s presidency was one of “missed opportunities.”
"You know, Jim, I find this almost impossible to believe, but I am Speaker of the House because a number of years ago — was it three? — Harry Reid and I challenged President Bush on his privatization of Social Security," said Pelosi.
"I recently read and heard on Jay Leno last night that President Bush, when asked what his proudest achievement was as president was his attempt to privatize Social Security."
"Well, frankly, that was the beginning of the end for the Republicans in Congress and led to the election of Barack Obama," said Pelosi.
Making no mention that Democrats have held majority in the House and Senate since 2006 Pelosi said, "I think the Bush presidency did great harm to America, with this war, with the enormous budget deficits, the challenges to the Constitution of the United States, the financial crisis that we are in."
"It is — maybe that’s why that was all the President could point to, his attempt to privatize Social Security. But in this downturn in the financial — the stock market, thank God, we won that fight," said Pelosi.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid last Sunday called Bush "the worst president in history."
Lehr honed in on the issue of friction within Congress but this time regarding the Democrats relationship with Obama.
"The Senate Majority Leader said this week ‘Barack Obama, I don’t work for Barack Obama. I work with Barack Obama, but not for Barack Obama’. How would you describe your relationship?" Lehrer asked Pelosi.
"Well, I’d — you know, we are an independent branch of government," said Pelosi. “I am the Speaker of the House, and Mr. Reid is the leader in the Senate, the Democratic leader in the Senate. Barack Obama is the President of the United States. And we all respect each other’s role.”
Respect, perhaps. But the outbursts from Democrats yesterday — Sen. John Kerry among others expressing opposition to Obama’s proposed tax cuts — are omens of dissent from the left. Obama’s biggest problem at the outset may be a headstrong and decidedly liberal Congress.