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Heath Shuler Says He'll Challenge Nancy Pelosi for Democratic Leader Post

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North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler said Sunday he would challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the leadership of the Democratic minority in the next Congress although he acknowledged that he does not have the votes to win.
"We've just come off the largest ... loss for the Democratic Party in almost a century," Shuler said on CNN's State of the Union. "And to be able to put Speaker Pelosi as minority leader is truly ... unacceptable for our party."
"If she doesn't step aside then ... I'm going to press forward," he said. "I can add and subtract pretty well. I don't have the numbers to be able to win, but I think it's a proven point for moderates and the Democrat Party that we have to be a big tent. We have to be all-inclusive. We have to invite everyone into the party."
Heath ShulerShuler, a second term congressman, is the whip for the conservative Blue Dog Democratic caucus who lost 24 of their 58 members in the midterm elections. On issues where he cast votes, Shuler sided with the party 83.9 percent of the time, according to the Washington Post, although he opposed the leadership on major items like the health care reform package.
Shuler said, "We've got to be able to recruit. We have to go into those moderate areas, those swing districts, and be able to get great recruits or get back those members of Congress that we lost, be able to have them on the ticket in 2012 to be able to win back the House. And I just don't see that path happening if we have her at the top of the leadership."
He said he had hoped Pelosi would step aside and yield the top leadership positions to the current Democratic majority leader, Steny Hoyer, and majority whip James Clyburn.
Shuler said the leadership under Pelosi had pushed legislation that was "so far to the left," that by the time lawmakers managed to push it back towards the center "it had been demonized by everyone involved and made it very difficult to be able to get a real message out clearly to the American people."
Appearing on the same show, Clyburn, who was elected from his South Carolina district in 1992, came to Pelosi's defense, saying, "We spent 12 years in the wilderness (after losing the House in 1994), four years ago we came into the majority. Who was leading the team then? Nancy Pelosi. Steny Hoyer was in second place, I was in third place. This is the team that brought us out of the wilderness and since it's Sunday morning, let me use a biblical stuff, 'into the land of milk and honey.' "
Pelosi has said she would keep both men in the leadership, with Hoyer as minority whip and Clyburn taking the newly created position of assistant leader, which would be third in the hierarchy.
Shuler was elected to Congress in 2006. Prior to that, he had been best known as the Washington Redskins' first round draft pick as quarterback in 1994. However, Shuler was not a success in the pros and ESPN rated him the fourth biggest draft bust of all time.
Filed Under: House, Democrats, Nancy Pelosi

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diomedeacaerinae

I want to know what deal Nancy made with the White House which suddenly caused the White House to stop opposing Nancy staying on as Minority Leader. At the 11th hour, they stopped trying to force her out. WHY???????? What deal did Nancy Pelosi cut with the White House?? Was it to keep her mouth shut regarding a huge scandal in Chicago? Nancy knows all about it I am sure. She was going to scorch the earth and leave DC, and all of a sudden, she stopps that, and goes back to running for Minority leader with out White House opposition. Ummmm hummmmmm What deal did Nancy make? Why did the White House cave into that? Curious minds want to know.

December 03 2010 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
timjbon

Good for Heath, someone who's voice is heard in Washington not only with respect, but over time moreso in the country. His voice could make a difference for others over the long haul rather than Pelosi who enjoyed the power and spotlight of it all too much in my opinion. When you have trouble making smart statements to the American people and your peers have to pull you away that's a sign your not up to the task. Good luck to the Volunteer!

November 16 2010 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
lattimoreperry

Heath Shuler would make a great LEADER for Democrats in the House. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over again expecting a different result! Keeping Nancy Pelosi at the helm is nothing short of insanity!! 2012 will make 2010 look like a picnic in the park and Republicans will sweep what's left of the Democrats right outta Washington. Democrats!! Snap out of it!!! America doesn't like what you have become and unless you are willing to accept this reality and change the path you are on, the future isn't going to be very kind !! Look at all the governorships and state legislatures the Republicans are set to control!! The country does not want what you are selling Democrats!! Fix things now or else you'll be forced to later!

November 16 2010 at 4:11 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
parkaybutter

Lots of conservatives on this board all calling for Pelosi to step aside or resign. That alone shows how good she has been, and has more than earned last week's accolades as one of the most effective speakers in our history.

November 15 2010 at 9:24 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Cat

Just thought you might like to know: "ESPN rated him the 4th biggest NFL Draft bust of all time." Seems he's just keeping up with his past.

November 15 2010 at 8:32 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
tralrsaler

I am a independent voter, but I can tell you, is the Democratic party blind, their is so much distrust with Pelosi's leadership, I am stunned at those supporting her. Wake up Dem's

November 15 2010 at 8:02 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
Sonja Dunbar

Heath is from our district and I voted for him. He's done a lot for the towns and people in this district. I hope that his challenge to Polosi is successful. We need some new/young blood leading the Dem. party. I wasn't pleased with a few of Heath's votes, but do I really want someone who ALWAYS vote the party line?? NO! That's the problem with politics today. By the way, I'm a retiree and look to the younger people to lead this country since the older ones haven't been doing such a good job lately.

November 15 2010 at 7:06 PM Report abuse +21 rate up rate down Reply
mypathoflight

While Pelosi is too far to the left, it sounds like Shuler is too far to the right. The problem with the party is the same issue the GOP is going through, too broad of a base. The GOP has nearly imploded from the fractures. The leadership needs to stick to the middle of the road and appeal to the majority of the party members.

November 15 2010 at 6:33 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
molly

when will the parties learn to work for the people and quit worring about being divided into groups. We are all americans. one is for the rich, which is the repulicans and the democrats for the small pooor people. Can't everyone work together and quit putting the blame on one party to the next. Lets try working together to help our country and the people that live here. We have people that are barely making it on social security, we have older people quitting medications cause they can't afford them when they hit there donut hole in there medicare d programs. Lets try working for the people that is why you all are there.

November 15 2010 at 6:30 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to molly's comment
Cat

molly -- "...is for the rich, which is the repulicans and the democrats for the small pooor people...." If it were that clear Molly, then there would be no problem involved in who we should vote for. But I'm afraid those are very old, very false definitions of the two political parties. But I am 100% for the last line in your posting. There is far too much hacking along party lines and less care and thought about what Americans need.

November 15 2010 at 8:39 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
tazzme4

name 1 democrat that is for the poor they are only in there for themselves

November 15 2010 at 9:46 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
donny

nancy pelosi was one of the most effective house speakers in modern history.without her political skills half of what was passed would have been beaten by rep opposition and weak willed dems. caving. This is why the right has put so much time and money into demonizing her.The dems ran and won in 08 on things like health care, drawing down in iraq and a more progressive approach to domestic policy.Instead of panicing over the mid term losses and continuing to allow what they and the pres. have done and are trying to do for america be misrepresented and lied about on the right,they need to stand and fight!Raising marginal tax rates on the top 1% from 36 to 39 is not "socialism" but sound and fair fiscal policy .We are talking about people who have done darn well and can afford to kick back alittle .Pelosi understands this shuler should either switch parties or drop back ten and punt!

November 15 2010 at 6:30 PM Report abuse -31 rate up rate down Reply

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