Tales from the Trail

Don’t tell anyone, but Pelosi upset her criticism of Gibbs leaked

July 15, 2010

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear she’s upset — “ticked off” — that her private criticism of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs leaked out. OBAMA/

That’s the word from one of Pelosi’s fellow Democrats who attended another closed-door meeting with her on Thursday, two days after her now well-publicized complaints about President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman.

“She said these meetings should be an opportunity for us to speak candidly with each other,” said the Democrat, asking not to be identified by name. “She was ticked off it leaked out.”

At a meeting of House Democrats on Tuesday, Pelosi ripped into Gibbs for saying Democrats may lose control of the chamber to Republicans in the November election. “There’s no doubt about that,” Gibbs told NBC on Sunday.

Pelosi was quoted as calling Gibbs’ remarks “very damaging,” suggesting they could hurt fundraising and urging Democrats not to be distracted by this “friendly fire.”

In addition, she reportedly complained that the White House seemed more interested in helping Democrats in the Senate, where Obama formerly served, than those in the House.

Other House Democrats publicly echoed her complaints on Wednesday, underscoring tension between them and their increasingly unpopular president.

OBAMA/At her weekly news conference on Thursday, Pelosi sought to downplay any such¬†tension, dismissed Gibbs’ comments as “unfortunate,” and said the White House has cooperated with House Democrats’ reelection efforts.

“We had a very positive meeting with the president yesterday,” Pelosi said, referring to a previously arranged¬†White House strategy session on their legislative agenda. “Our major focus was on jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Pelosi added, “There is absolutely no reason to think that the White House has been anything but cooperative with us in terms of our political efforts to retain control of Congress.”

Just hours earlier, at her private meeting with House Democrats, Pelosi said, “the president is our best messenger,” according to party aides.

She also complained that reports of Tuesday’s meeting “made it seem like I was really mad. I’m not mad. Just a little disappointed.” the House Democrat quoted her as saying.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama and Pelosi at fundraising dinner May 13), Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Gibbs briefing reporters June 3)

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