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Did Nancy Pelosi Fast Track Stimulus Bill Over Obama’s Objections? “Absolutely Not” She Says

Yesterday, Newsweek published an abjectly ridiculous article, quoting "anonymous sources" inside the White House and claiming that Nancy Pelosi fast tracked the stimulus bill over President Obama’s objections. . . resulting in the tragic loss of the Charlie Dent vote:

Dent says he wanted to talk about some of his concerns, but Democratic leaders ignored him. Pelosi didn’t share the president’s dream of brotherly love breaking out in the Capitol. She was in charge, this was her bill and she would decide what was in it. To the ire of Republicans, and some Democrats, Pelosi maneuvered to put the stimulus package on an emergency fast track, cutting short debate on the bill and cutting Republicans out of the discussion. "I believe the president was absolutely sincere in looking for a bipartisan outcome," Dent says. "But the White House lost control of the process when the bill was outsourced to Pelosi."

So, even though Obama asked for the stimulus bill to be on his desk by President’s Day, he was somehow miffed because Pelosi fast tracked it? And the GOP leadership did not threaten to crush Bucky Dent’s head like a grape if he voted for the bill, unlike say Joseph Cao, who is facing potential recall because he did so? Obama just hands Dent a hot dog, and he’d be willing to commit political suicide within the Republican party and destroy Eric Cantor’s "united front" but he doesn’t because Nancy Pelosi was mean to him? Seriously?

I asked Speaker Pelosi about the assertion that the administration objected to her use of fast track this morning at an on-the-record meeting with new media representatives. "It couldn’t be further from the truth," she said. Pelosi indicated that she could have moved it through much faster, but didn’t. "We did it in one week and one day," she said. "We didn’t start on inauguration day." She indicated that there had been committee hearings where Republicans had input, and it was silly to think that their objections would have been overcome by a longer process which would have resulted in delays that the White House expressly did not want.

The Speaker also responded to the anonymous "administration official" who said Pelosi made it clear she wanted to be informed any time the White House spoke to a House member. "I never said you can only talk to members before you talk to me — I don’t have that kind of time," she said. Pelosi encouraged them to be in free communication with members of the House and the Caucus. "They have a lot of ideas you should talk to them on," she indicated.

Pelosi also denied that she had an "enemies list," as the Politico indicated yesterday. I asked her how she would respond to the assertion in the Newsweek article by a Senior Obama Official who said that "dealing with Democrats has been tougher than dealing with Republicans." She said that we would continue to see a lot of these kinds of articles, and that it was serving someone’s interest to float these stories.

I wonder who she could possibly be talking about?

Quotes taken from contemporaneous notes–we will have the exact transcript later today.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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