* Democrats say she would keep leader job if she chooses
* Pelosi says "no way on Earth" Romney will win
By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON, Nov 4 Normally outspoken Nancy
Pelosi is mum about her future.
She won't say if she will step aside as Democratic leader of
the U.S. House of Representatives if her party fails, as
expected, to win back the chamber from Republicans in Tuesday's
Pelosi recently fanned speculation about her future by
scheduling House Democratic leadership elections later than many
anticipated, after the Nov. 22 Thanksgiving Day holiday, rather
than at the outset of the lame-duck session of the House that
begins a week after the Nov. 6 election.
Several of her colleagues say Pelosi would retain her
leadership job if she does choose to run.
Pelosi said in an interview with Reuters that she decided to
have leadership elections later to give newly elected members
more time to get acquainted before deciding on leaders and to
let members focus on the election without distraction.
"There's feeling she wants to give herself more time to
think about what she will do," one party aide said.
Pelosi said she is too busy to "waste a moment or an once of
energy" on the hypothetical question.
"Right now, our focus is on one thing - winning," Pelosi
said in a telephone interview between campaign events.
Besides she said, "Do you ask (Republican presidential
nominee) Mitt Romney what he will do if he loses? ... There is
no way on Earth that he's going to win."
Pelosi was speaker of the House - the first and only woman
to hold the post - from 2007 until January 2011, when Republican
John A. Boehner took over after a Republican sweep in the 2010
"Organize, don't agonize. That's my motto," said Pelosi, 72,
who was first elected to Congress from San Francisco 25 years
In October, Pelosi had 65 fundraising and campaign events in
eight states and the District of Columbia, her office said.
Pelosi dismisses predictions by most analysts that Democrats
will fall far short of picking up the needed 25 seats to take
the 435-member House.
"I've never been to one to go along with the experts," she
said. "There are a lot of close races that can go either way."
Interviews with a dozen House Democrats found all saying
it's unclear what Pelosi will do about the leadership job.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't know. I doubt she's
given it much thought," said Democratic Representative Gerald
Connolly. "She's thinking about the here and now."
But all agreed that if Pelosi decides to run again for House
Democratic leader, she would get the job.
"We get our inspiration from her aspiration to accomplish
great things," said Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings.
Democratic Representative George Miller said: "I don't know
what she'll do. It's her decision. But I think it's unlikely she
leaves. She is a warhorse."
"She gives all the signs that she intends to run again for
leader," said one Democratic aide who asked not to be named.
"She's working hard for members. She's out there raising money.
She's totally engaged."
Critics say Pelosi should have followed the example of
former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert, who left leadership
after his party lost the chamber in 2006.
A number of moderate Democrats had hoped Pelosi, a leading
liberal, would do that after the 2010 election. But after days
of private talks, she announced she would run and won easily.
Pelosi said her primary motivation - as it was when she
first ran for Congress in 1987 - is to help children living in
poverty, now one in five.
In 2010, Republicans made Pelosi the face of an unpopular
Congress with more than $65 million in attack ads. In picking up
63 House seats to take the House, they blamed her for Obama's
controversial U.S. healthcare overhaul.
Regardless how Tuesday's election turns out, Pelosi seems
certain to remain in Congress for at least two more years.
Having won a 13th term in 2010 with 80 percent of the vote,
she's favored to easily capture a 14th on Tuesday.