Tough newly elected speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi is a woman on a mission. Pelosi, 67, assumed office on January 4, making her the first female speaker in U.S. history, number three in the constitutional line of succession behind the president and the vice president.
After losing control of the U.S. Congress following midterm elections last year largely due to voter dissatisfaction with White House's Iraqi policy, President George W. Bush and the Republicans have fallen on hard times.
Speaking to CBS, Pelosi urged Bush to justify his new strategy of sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, indicating that the Congress may refuse to approve additional funding for this purpose. “This is new for him [Bush] because up until now the Republican Congress has given a blank check with no oversight, no standards, no conditions, and we have gone into this situation, which is a war without end, which the American people have rejected,” she said.
A constant thorn in the side of the Republicans, Pelosi successfully forced Bush into making a final decision to sack his former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
At the inauguration ceremony of her new appointment, she pledged to steer the nation in a “new direction” for all Americans by making changes in Iraq and through anti-corruption campaigns within Congress.
The long-awaited victory for Democrats in the Congress allows Pelosi to start a new round of legislation through the “100 hours” plan, which requires stringent budgets of the White House to avoid huge deficits, a wage raise for workers, expansion of federal support for stem cell research and reduction of costs for medical care.
Quick and efficient as Pelosi is, the realization of her blueprint will be tough because the majority of Democrats in Congress are not sufficiently united and because of the veto held by the presidency against any bill proposed by the Democratic-led Congress.
“She’s not going to abandon her principles, and I am not going to abandon mine. But I do believe we have an opportunity to find some common ground to move forward on.”
President George. W. Bush
“Democrats are ready to lead, prepared to govern and absolutely willing to work in a bipartisan way.”
“It is unacceptable for either supplier or transit countries to take measures that impact on partner countries without consultation.”
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, criticizing an oil transit row between Russia and Belarus that has disrupted supplies to the EU
“Our policy is of reconciliation. Our doors are open and we shall welcome all Somali parties into the national administration.”
Somali Government Spokesman Abdirahman Dinari, saying that the government was ready to accommodate some Islamists
“In the Orinoco region ... international companies control and dominate the refining processes of heavy crude. That has to be passed on to Venezuelans.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling for a legislation giving him the power to nationalize the oil-rich country’s power and telephone sectors
“We hope whatever changes that have taken place in the structure of the Japanese Government could continue to develop along the path of peaceful development.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao, commenting on the upgrade of the Japanese Defense Agency to a full ministry
“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.”
Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, announcing the company’s long-awaited leap into the mobile phone business by unveiling the multimedia iPhone on January 9
“People are eating more, but unfortunately they’re not eating better.”
Henk Bekedam, World Health Organization’s Chief China Representative in Beijing, warning that the number of obese people in China tripled to 90 million, as the economy grew sevenfold from 1992 to 2006