May 19th, 2009
08:45 AM ET

Dear President Obama #120: The Pelosi Problem

Reporter's Note: Our President, Barack Obama, has asked for the citizens of this country to send him ideas, suggestions, inspirations, even flights of fancy about how he might best go about doing his job. My letters sometimes fit at least one of those descriptions, although just as often I fear they devolve into incoherent rambling. Undeterred, however, I press on with a message each day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Just in case the big DC Republicans are not telling you this (and heaven knows why they would) you should know that they pretty much consider you untouchable these days. You’ve still got the big poll numbers; they’re still being pinned behind the rocks by voter anger; and so even when they pop out for a quick hit and run, they know they don’t have the muscle to take you on directly. So what do you do when you can’t get at the king? You go after his court. And that, politically, brings us to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

Between the Notre Dame trip, your daughters’ soccer games, and grabbing those burgers with Biden (and btw, watch that…former President Clinton loved the ol’ burger and fries bit to the point of punching new holes in his belt, and making Ned Beatty look svelte by comparison. Not pretty.) …where was I? Oh yes, between all the events that you’ve been tied up in, perhaps you’ve noticed that Madam Speaker has become the most popular tin rabbit at the Republican shooting gallery.

There is an awful lot to say about the circumstances that painted the bull’s eye on her back; frankly, too much to get into here. But there she is; and for the first time since you took the oath, GOPers are sensing a potential crack in the vaunted Obama-armor.

Every major piece of legislation that you want, will have to flow through her. Health care, energy, economic reform. If she comes out of this looking wounded, or deceitful, or shaky, or simply not entirely forthright in her dealings (and I’m not saying she will, but those are possibilities) then you can bet your bowling shoes the Republicans will make her exhibit A in every program you propose. You’ll be forced to distance yourself, or stand right next to her, and either one could look bad for a president who has promised a new way of running government…because either one could look an awful lot like the old way.

I know this whole affair is driving a lot of Democrats crazy. They feel that even if she bears some culpability, the Republicans hold the lion’s share. But the GOP is raising the stakes. They are betting that you and she and a host of other Dems are not willing to risk losses to your own party, to pursue charges against Republicans who are either out of office or already marginalized by the most recent elections.

So you can blame all this on the Republicans; or you can blame it on her; or you can blame it on Rio; but aside from all the rights and wrongs, on the battlefield of pure politics unless the Speaker handles this affair very carefully it will not matter who is to blame: She’ll pay the price and you will too.

And on that happy note. Ha! I really don’t mean to be a downer; it’s just that sometimes you see a storm brewing, and you can’t help but remark on the gathering clouds. Hope all is well. Looks like the big meeting with Netanyahu went well enough. Good luck with whatever you decide to launch in terms of the Middle East talks. Talk about torturous!

Not terribly busy so far this week, so it’s ok if you want to call.



Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. lam0nt Austin

    Jim s california,
    you couldnt be more completely off base, Bush and Cheney just need to be held responsible for breaking the law thats it, Pelosi didnt order torture they did. You people that think Pelosi should resign are and must be the far right winged.

    Lamont Austin
    Tucson Az

    May 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  2. RoseParvin

    Nancy Pelosi did the right thing bringing CIA down from his throne!Believe me, there are within CIA people who I have talked to who want reform in the agency and are intimidated by the arrogant games a group plays that they are burnt by and do not like so much dishonesty and lack of boundary and ethics and legality that endangers security! In my case also it is outrageous for a powerful and wealthy scientist counselor and healer to he silenced and censored for 12 years by a CIA man who came to promte her and ended up pirating her every word sticking it to others and claiming her Global peace Program that with her guidance has braught a great deal of crediblity for him and now he thinks giving me my access and platform is a favor not a requirement for him to consider himself a descent citizen! They have deceived me, President Bush and Nancy Pelosi and an enitre nation of Americ and Iran in creating fake heoroes hiding the true creator and savior who rose and wrote 9 books in one year for their rebirth and created Dialogue for peace!

    May 19, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  3. lam0nt Austin

    People seems all of you have no insight when it comes to these matters, Pelosi Im sure would not lie about what she knew and when knew it, theres no reason to. This is obviously a plan to divert attention
    from the real problem I dont care if she knew or not.

    Republican party just wont take responsibility for the wrong they have done and now there trying to foil the process and digging a bigger hole for there party. Repubs. are finished~~~~ yaaaayyyy

    Lamont Austin
    Tucson Az

    May 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm |

    Nancy Pelosi should resign. Unfortunately, democrats are hypocrites. They bellieve they are abobe the law. With that, Nancy is off the hook along with others.. Both parties seem to attack each other. The Democrats seem to do it more often and have vendettas against the Republicans and want to get even. On the other hand, Republicans criticize Democrats and usually are right but aren't quite as vicsious. A good example is the attacks on George W. Bush. The Republicans are more civil. Ronald Reagan did not attact Jimy Carter for his traitorous blunders.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  5. Lesa

    I enjoyed the letter. This whole thngs really reminds me of something. I remember a similar sort of story about a woman being the fall person. Well, all these men brought this women for the great one and said that she was caught in adultery and should be stoned to death. Well, none of them bothered to bring the men that she committed the act with because she did not do it alone. Huh! Isn't it funny how we can always bring the woman forth when she was not the responsible one. I guess history shows that it's so much easier to just blame it all on the woman and say, "It was this woman" than for the men to be held accountable for their actions. Oh, finishing up the story, the great one said, "let He who is without sin, cast the first stone". Well, I think the yard was clear because nobody came forth. I say this to say that let's not always look for someone to take the blame on something but, if we are going to be just then, let's bring the real culprits up and everybody involved.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Pelosi has now issued 3 different stories, including saying that the CIA lied to her. While I'm sure the CIA has no problem with lying, they obviously would think long and hard before lying to Congress, the body that funds them. I'm sure Pelosi was fully briefed in her role in the House Intelligence Committee. She may or may not have objected at the time, but if she did object, she lacked the political courage to do so in any meaningful way. Now when it's politically correct to be against enhanced interrogation, she's a 'born again' critic of these methods. She's a typical politician trying rewrite reality to fit the latest public opinion polls. The Bush administration at least believed what they were doing was right and acted accordingly. Pelosi went along because it was politically expedient.

    May 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  7. Melissa

    The GOP won't win against Obama because they keep digging themselves deeper. They look far worse than Pelosi. And incidentally, I don't much like her even though I'm a Democrat. She's too far left and obstructive.

    May 19, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  8. antbee

    love the letters-all of them-at this stage of my life i'm trying to become more politically knowledgeable...you have a way of making me look at current events from angles i'd never figure out on my own...and you make me laugh; thanks for that.

    May 19, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  9. Arachnae

    "on the battlefield of pure politics unless the Speaker handles this affair very carefully it will not matter who is to blame:"

    This in a nutshell is what is wrong with journalism today. Because in the real world, it really does matter who is to blame.

    May 19, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  10. Kimberly

    Dear Tom, Today's letter is definitely not incoherent rambling. Thanks for the chuckle (with your hamburger comment) and for spelling out what Obama's challenge with this whole thing will be.

    May 19, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  11. Anne of the World

    The attacks on Pelosi are a waste of time...a little distracting, maybe...This congress will be the most productive congress since FDR! Guess what! Nobody wants to hear the poison or see the fingers pointing any more! People want change! Jobs! Americans want to feel that life is fair! Everybody is sick of being lied to! Hold your head high Nancy and do your job with pride. When they pick on you, it means you are a success.

    May 19, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  12. Susan Williamson

    I voted for President Obama and I have faith in his abilities. I've never been a fan of Nancy or Harry. As a matter of fact I always thought they should be still & not on camera every other day.

    As to Nancy's guilt. I hope she is telling the truth, but I'm not betting on it. She needs to clear this up and move on. If she has lied, she needs to do what she would expect a member of the GOP to do.

    May 19, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  13. double standards

    Dear Mr President I am really values your efforts to give a solution to our national problems. The true are most of them created by the same system which now you are representing. The tragedy is that only your good intentions are not enough because your political team is incompetent and the other team is hopeless. God help us.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  14. Als

    No Mr. Pres Obama it goes to Bush and Dick Cheney Pelosi is their scape goat. The American public is not buying this mess. She may have known something but Bush gave all the orders.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The GOP are going to fall flat on their faces in their attempt to go after Obama. Newt Gingrich is a not a Bill Clinton and he will destroy the party.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  16. SLM

    Give me a break, this Tom character sure does ramble on about a bunch of crap. Pelosi put herself in this position by lying and lying some more when caught. The republicans didn't do anything to her, she did it to herself. Time for Pelosi to retire and get a new facelift, the old one is wearing off. If she would have just said she didn't recall or claim senility, maybe she could have gotten away with it. But she didn't she claimed she was NEVER briefed and when that was proven a lie, she claimed the CIA misled her. She has a real problem admitting when she is wrong, instead she will point fingers and continue to point fingers. This won't die because she won't quit lying. All you fools who continue to support her need to go back and listen to her words and quit making excuses for her.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  17. Carol B. in MD

    Nancy is the female, "teflon" version as Speaker of The House and nobody's fool. Yes, this Panetta v.s. Nancy might have to go down in history as different versions of information without anyone conceding. The CIA is a powerful institution and she doesn't have anything to gain by going up against it without any proof.This might fade away,but a sense of justified questioning will remain in our collective unconscious, hereafter. The caveat: don't accept anything at face value.

    May 19, 2009 at 9:03 am |