Pelosi won't limit vote to offshore drilling
Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Friday, August 15, 2008
(08-14) 19:07 PDT -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday firmly rejected the idea of a House vote solely on the issue of offshore oil drilling, calling it "a hoax on the American people" backed by oil companies.
Instead, she said, she wants Congress to tackle a compromise comprehensive energy plan that would include alternative energy sources and curtailing tax breaks for oil companies.
"You want to drill? We want the royalties for the American people, and we want that to pay for renewable energy resources," the San Francisco Democrat said in an interview for KQED television's weekly news show, "This Week in Northern California." "We want to connect all that together."
Pelosi also said she supports a roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this month. Supporters of former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton had been pressing to have her name put into nomination to recognize the millions of votes she received during the primaries.
Clinton and presumed nominee Barack Obama agreed to do that Thursday, but the mechanics of a roll-call vote are still to be worked out. Pelosi argued that the roll call is a tradition and would be good for the party.
And Pelosi also said she hopes U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein runs for governor of California in 2010, predicting that she would be an excellent chief executive for the state.
"She'd be great. I wanted her to run during the recall," Pelosi said of the 2003 special election. "I didn't succeed."
Still, she noted, "Sen. Feinstein is in position right now in the Senate - she's chair of the rules committee. ... It would be hard to see her walk away from that, because she's certainly a respected leader in our country."
Pelosi appeared on the show as part of a tour to promote her new book, "Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters."
Pelosi was heckled and interrupted later Thursday at an event at the Cowell Theater, where she was being interviewed by KQED talk show host Michael Krasny. About 100 protesters advocating impeachment of President Bush interrupted the speaker, who remained calmer than many angry listeners who shouted down the hecklers. Several people were removed, but there were no arrests.
Pelosi said she wants to end what she called the failed energy policies supported by "two oilmen in the White House," referring to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, former oil company executives.
"They want us to do more of the same," she said. "So they've come up with this gimmick, this hoax" that says if drilling is allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore, "it's going to bring down the price at the pump."
"Ten years, 2 cents," Pelosi said, arguing that 10 years would be the time needed to reap a small benefit to most Americans. "Even the president has said it isn't a quick fix. ... I can't allow a hoax to come to the floor."
But she would consider a vote on drilling "in the context of a fuller, more comprehensive energy package" that would include ending some of the oil companies' current tax breaks.
Big Oil, she said, wants to drill and "not pass their royalties to the taxpayer. They want us to subsidize the drilling."
That's why alternative energy - solar, wind, oil released from the strategic energy supply and natural gas, which is clean and abundant - should be mandated as part of the plan, she said.
Pelosi, who will be chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 25, said she does not believe that sexism played the overriding role in the end of Clinton's campaign.
"There was sexism, but that plays a couple of ways. ... Being a woman in politics is a giant plus," she said.
"There's all kinds of analysis of how their campaign prioritized the races," she said, but added that the fact that Obama was against the Iraq war from day one "made a big difference in giving him the opportunity that he had. ... It was a factor that was important."
She noted that in her own district, she is facing a challenge from anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan.
"I'm so glad that Cindy Sheehan got the signatures" to run, because it would have been a controversy if she hadn't, Pelosi said.
But Pelosi said she is confident of her re-election, noting that she won 80 percent of the vote in the Eighth Congressional District in her last race.
She acknowledged that some progressive voters are disappointed because "they want the war to end ... and I'm with them on that," she said, but she added she is certain that Obama - whom she predicts will be the next president - will make that happen.
Pelosi on TV
The interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be shown at 9 p.m. tonight on KQED, Channel 9 in San Francisco.
E-mail Carla Marinucci at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared on page A - 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Keep it up, Nancy, and things may start to shape up!