At the moment, the question isn’t whether Democrats are going to retake the U.S. House in the midterm elections three weeks from now, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said at Harvard Kennedy School on Tuesday. The question is how big the margin will be, whether it will be “a wave or a tsunami.”
Pelosi was in an upbeat mood, there to inspire students to get politically involved. She said a few times that, “We don’t agonize, we organize.” Her talk was moderated by Mark D. Gearan ’78, director of the School’s Institute of Politics, and was introduced with a surprise appearance by former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy ’80.
Calling Pelosi “one of the people I most admire in the world,” Kennedy cited the influence of her father, John F. Kennedy, on Pelosi. “As a young teenage girl in 1960, she fell in love with JFK. And today she understands what makes women enter politics — the health, safety, and environment of the world our children are growing up in.” Citing Pelosi’s work to pass the Affordable Care Act, Kennedy said, “It’s no secret that the reason she is the No. 1 target for Republicans is that she is so effective.”
Pelosi responded by recalling her own youthful epiphany when she attended JFK’s inauguration in 1961. “I was there as a student, and the excellence of his agenda was an inspiration to the world. And I can see a connection with all the college-age students here. To see his legacy continue to flourish and grow, and to see that in all your faces, is something miraculous.”