tv Inside Politics CNN November 18, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PST
it's bring your own phone, not pony. so i could've taken the bus? yeah. bring your phone. switch your carrier. save hundreds a year with xfinity mobile. call, click or visit a store today. angry and sullen behind the scenes, but the president insists all is fine. >> very happy with almost all of my cabinet. changes are made because they're always made. plus, new attacks on the special counsel but also some long-awaited answers. >> they didn't take long to do them and they were my answers. i don't need lawyers to do that. and who will lead house democrats? >> reporte
>> i happen to think that i am the most qualified person to do that. >> this is the most diverse congress we've had and our leadership should be diverse as well. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. to our viewers around the united states and the world, thank you for sharing your sunday with us. the president is mad at some members of his cabinet and staff, but stays a story detailing his doubts about the vice president is off base. >> no, i don't question his loyalty at all. he is 100% loyal. it was a phony story. i doubt they had any sources. a typical "new york times" phony story. mike pence is 100%, not even a doubt about it in my mind. he has been a trouper. plus, democrats keep adding to their new majority in the house. yet despite winning have a spirited debate over who should
lead them. nancy pelosi says her critics ignore her role in that big win. >> i have a broad base of support in the country, financially, politically and otherwise, which is valuable to our caucus. none of us is indispensable, but some of us are just better at our jobs than others. i want women to see that you do not get pushed around and you don't run away from the fight. and mueller time, as the investigations gear up. trump allies believe there's bad news coming and the president's comments are at odds with the specificity of the special counsel's questions. >> i write answers. my lawyers don't write answers i write answers. i was asked a series of questions. i answered them very easily. they like to catch people, was it sunny or was it rainy? he said it may have been a good
day. it was rainy. therefore, he told a lie. he perjured himself. you have to be careful when you answer questions with people who probably have bad intentions, but the questions were very routinely answered by me. by me. okay? >> with us this sunday to share their reporting and their insights, julie hirshfeld davis with the "new york times" and kaitlin collins. a town literally scorched off the map by one of that state's devastating wildfires. the governor and governor-elect at the president's side, politics forgotten for a day. >> we've spoken and have gotten to know each other. we've gotten to know one another and will do a real job.
it's sad to see. it's going to work out well. right now we want to take care of the people who are so badly hurt. >> the president took time to meet privately with those affected by the nightclub massacre in thousand oaks. >> this has been a tough day when you look at all the death from one place to the next. and then we leave from here. that was a tragic event that took place. i want to thank you. you stayed with us. this is a long day for you also. i just felt this is something we had to do and i'm very glad we did it. >> reassuring tone and message to close a week in which angry and restless were the words most often used to describe a president stewing about election results, special counsel and several members of his team. >> the whole thing was a hoax. there's no collusion. i'm very happy. i'm very happy with the white
house. the best economy we've ever had. i'm very happy with almost all of my cabinet. and, you know, changes are made because they're always made, especially after mid terms, but it's all fake news. i'm thrilled with the way the country is going. >> my big question, if you watched the president yesterday, was that a one-off, if you will? a kindler, gentler tone, understanding he's there for tragedy, democratic governor, governor-elect decided not to push too hard on their differences or, as time passes and he not just stews about the election results, processes them serks going , is he going to try to change his tone? is that asking too much? >> you never know with this president if this is a consistent theme or is it a one-off. we've seen in the past he has a moment or two of putting things aside and then he always comes back to this real sense of grievance and that it's him
against everyone else, particularly in a situation like the one in california where there's this massive devastation and there's been all this death. hundreds of people are still missing. i think he got that he had to put on a more unified face for the country when he went and did that visit. that said, he did make those comments about forest management, raking the forest floor and tiptoeing back to that theme that these are the results of mismanagement by the state of california. you might imagine that's something that he said. that is a state that is primarily and now almost entirely led by democrats. >> the governor and governor-elect think he's uninformed or misinformed. in addition to the forest management questions and the raking, if you will, which they say not just what's happened out there, not even close is what they say. governor brown has been very clear. hotter, drier conditions, at least in part, are because of climate change and the fires were devastating because of climate change. the president has asked about
the differences. this is trump, if you will, trademark. is it happening? things are change. most importantly, we're doing things about it. we're going to make it better. we're going to make it a lot better and it's going to happen as quickly as it can possibly happen. one thing that all of us noticed today and how great our first responders and fema, fema, fema. he is a and jerry brown is z. most people would look at epa and other regulations and say, sorry, sir, you're not. then he pivots. let's talk about something else. >> it's classic trump. he disagrees with jerry brown on this, tweets at him often being highly critical. when he's there and in the face of this incident, he doesn't want to get into an argument face-to-face. he doesn't change his position or answer the question, yes or no. things are happening.
that's very classic trump in the face of that. >> the thing that we've learned about this president is that he gets triggered by things, right? so there weren't a lot of triggers while he's on the road in california that are going to set him off. the problem is, when he gets back to washington, you know, he's facing the mueller questions, which they're still working on. they'll have to turn back in this week and then there's going to be the repercussions of that. he's facing the staff shake-ups, congressional lame duck session. and all of this triggers his outbursts and his moods. that's, i think, why you saw kind of a different president for a moment yesterday and in all likelihood we won't see that. >> to that point you always ask the question after a midterm drumming, does the president change his way?
lame duck congress, you mentioned. the president has said in the past i'll shut down the government if i don't get my wall funding. i threatened to do it last year. >> we're talking about the border wall, quite a big sum of money $5 million. if i was ever going to do a shut down over border security, when you look at the caravan, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown. i don't think it's going to be necessary because i think the democrats will come to their senses. and if they don't come to their senses, we will continue to win elections. >> i'm not sure who the "we" is there. the republicans just got slammed in the midterms. >> this is his last chance to do it before the democrats take the
house. it's unclear whether he has a negotiating tactic from a to z here, if he is willing to give up something that he believes house democrats will accept for it, they will give him his wall. the question is what they get in return. with regard to the wildfire, i want to say briefly, president trump offers very simple answers to complex problems. blame the lousy politicians who cut bad deals, you see crime happening, blame immigration. wildfires -- i want to say democracy as well, it's slipping away, blame democrats and illegal voting. wildfires don't blame climate change and climate shift that is exacerbating and we're not doing anything about. it's a simple answer and people like to hear it. >> he doesn't want to be pushed. the president got his briefing from the cia on the jamal
khashoggi killing. the cia said the crown prince knew, the crown prince ordered. they filed a report saying there's no final conclusion but cia told president trump yesterday we think the crown prince ordered this. listen to the president. will be tough but -- >> killing of a journalist, a very, very bad situation, khashoggi. somebody who was respected. it should never have happened. and we'll be having a very full report over the next two days. >> the cia has assessed that mba is behind it? >> that was a very premature report but that's possible. in the meantime, we're doing things to some people that we know for a fact were involved and we're being very tough on a lot of people. >> it's clear from other answers that he does not want to have to sanction the crown prince directly, that he does not want to have a big break in the
relationship with the crown prince. correct me if i'm wrong, bob corker, one of his fierce critics, about to leave the senate. hoping the holidays pass and you come back and the temperature goes down on this. >> the white house has wanted nothing more than to put this behind them. president trump does not want to hold the crown prince directly responsible because he thinks the saudi relationship with the u.s. is so valuable. not only in regards to oil but also iran. it's interesting to me that on friday night the washington post says that mbs not only knew about it, but ordered the killing of this reporter and president trump is not getting briefed about it until on his way to california. if the cia has gotten this far to where the cia is assessing this, president trump knows about it. he met with the cia director upon her return from turkey. how come he didn't get brief bid pompeo or haskill till he's on his way to california? the president kept saying mbs, the crown prince, did not play a
role in this. according to what the cia sources have said, multiple outlets have confirmed that he was the one who ordered it. the president seems to be trying to get around that. it's just what we continue to see more with this administration. they're trying to put this behind them, they do not want to hold the saudi crown prince responsible personally and saying that these sanctions are enough. >> the leaks are often designed to nnlg nudge the leader along if the leader doesn't want to go where other people think he should go. up next, nancy pelosi takes on her critics and takes note of the fact that most of them are men. i switched to sprint because they have a great network and i knew i'd save a ton of money. sprint's nationwide lte advanced network is now up to 2x faster than when i switched. and their total lte coverage is 30% larger. that's big news!! don't forget unlimited. sprint's unlimited can save you nearly $1000 in the first year over verizon and at&t.
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she needs some votes. i will perform a wonderful service for her. i like her. do you believe it? i like nancy pelosi. she's tough and smart but she deserves to be speaker. >> those unwelcomed gifts in washington here. pelosi met face-to-face with one congresswoman marsha fudge. she emerged to say she is willing to back pelosi if she offers a timetable to younger leadership. >> basically she asked me if we could get to a point where i would be supportive. there is, yes, but it's going to take some. >> she is part of a group demanding new leadership. pelosi played hardball in response to that. >> you have to ask those people with an their motivation is. i think of the 17 it's mostly like 14 men who are on that letter. if, in fact, there is any
misogyny involved in it, it's their problem and not mean. >> that last part and the pause between 14 -- men. she felt she had to do that tells you that she doesn't have the votes today. >> it does. if you take that group at their word, take a look at the list of members on that letter, if the vote were held today and those people did not say the name pelosi, she would not be speaker because she could not get to 218 votes. she's doing everything in her power right now to make sure that doesn't happen. one of the things is to call out, what she's calling the sexism that's involved in here. she is the first woman ever to hold the post as speaker of the house. she wants to have that role again. she's really playing up the idea that this is, you know, the majority of the people that are
in and out nou out there saying she should not have the job are men. it's face fascinating because you have this element. they said if there were a vacancy at the top, they should have one of the top two roles. there's also the politics of lgbtq rights. one of the knocks that opponents of marsha fudge have brought up in the wake of her name being put forward as a possible opponent to nancy pelosi is that she's been insufficiently supportive of gay rights and doesn't support a piece of legislation to include gay rights in overall civil rights protections. it's been fascinating to watch how these fissures have divided the caucus. it's not clear what the path toward unity is. it seems very clear that nancy pelosi is playing very hardball politics to figure out how to mend all those divisions. >> one of the audit yens she's targeting is newly elected
democrats. it was a progressive year, marsha fudge included. why would you let men, after this year of the woman, telling you what to do. listening to the freshmen, it's pretty interesting. >> at this time nancy pelosi does not have my support. i'm not making any voting commitments at this time. i'm looking for a new generation of leadership. >> we have to see how this all develops, obviously. but it does mean that i wouldn't be voting for her, either on the floor or in caucus. >> i made a commitment to my district that i would not be supporting nancy pelosi. >> what will you do if there's not another candidate? >> like i said, that's why we'll have to see how we move forward. >> welcome to washington. >> there are two buckets of opposition, the issues she's dealing with here. few enemies she has made over 15 years as democratic leader. seth molton would be the most prominent of them.
the chief attack on them, if not one of the main attacks on them was if you elect this democrat, nancy pelosi would be speaker. a lot of them distanced themselves from her and are they going to be able to perhaps vote yes or vote no in the caucus vote, where she will easily get a majority and maybe vote a different way on the floor? are they going to be able to splooit slice that? jason crowe, abigail spanbanger, they've made a promise to their districts. >> we want women in charge just not this woman in charge, i like that. back to president trump, it was interesting to say he wants nancy pelosi to be speaker of the house. whoever is going to be the democratic house speaker will be a counterpoint to president trump. he knows nancy pelosi and knows how to deal with her. he doesn't want a younger figure to emerge. that's why we're seeing him
pushing her. saying he could get her republican votes if she needs them is laughable. i'm sure republicans watching that had their eyes bulging. they just ran saying she is this horrible, scary, liberal figure and if they vote for her, they're almost certainly going to be primaried. so it's so fascinating to see president trump say he would be able to get republican votes for her. >> mischief. put that one in the file of mischief. >> it's also true that the divisions that julie talked about within the democratic caucus in the house are more broadly than divisions in the democratic party at large. the president faces the 2020 campaign, he wants to stoke those divisions. >> yep. >> and make sure that those help to divide the democratic party. >> the republican party, democratic party, especially after winning. more people at the table. think about thanksgiving. gets interesting. final midterm verdicts still not in. republicans take the governors' races in florida and georgia. >> this is not a speech of
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republicans. 31 pickups, minus 3 there. a net gain of 36 seats. let's look at races we haven't called yet. a few left on the board. we take these here. they're not called. two where republicans are leading narrowly, georgia and utah. it is a possibility if the democrat holds this seat that republicans get wiped out in orange county. we know republicans, when it comes to the house -- let me turn this off -- have already been wiped out in new england. democrats on path to get close to 40 seats when this is said and done. talk to the democrats who won, some republicans who lost, they say thank you, mr. president. >> orange county is a new blue. donald trump has made everything about him these last two years. a large part of this election was a rebuke of the president. >> the president has to sharpen his pencil and check his ego.
the fact is that in many districts like mine, the president was not helpful. >> you have to love that from ted lieu, orange is the new blue. when you look at the map, and the president grumbled more yesterday about what about the senate? it's true, republicans picked up a couple of seats in the senate. they had a favorable map. they're going to pick up some. that helps with judges. when you look at the house, particularly in suburban america, do the republicans understand, i guess, the depth of their problem? are they going to say this is just trump or do they understand they have a problem? >> republicans understand the depth of the problem. i'm sure the president does not. a lot of republicans if you talk to them candidly, they understand this phenomenon of having lost the suburbs and college-educated women in some of these areas of the country, could be fatal to them if they don't figure out a way to bounce back from that, if they don't figure out a way to better
appeal to those kinds of voting groups, which basically you cannot win elections without. at least in the house map. you could argue, looking at the results from these midterms, that you can still win senate races in places -- in red states where there are large, rural communities that offset those losses. as a strategy going forward, as a party, if they sentence themselves to only being able to win those places, they are not going to be able to be successful and i think that has sunk in. >> you mentioned you don't know does the president get it. we know he did something remarkable, public scorn on republicans who distanced himself, got no love from mia love. that one was not called when the president pulled her under the bus and she may come back till in the new congress. this jumps out to you. he lost the popularity vote to hillary clinton. republicans took a drumming in the house, lost six or seven governors' races, this is the president of the united states,
the republicans don't win, and that's because of potentially illegal votes. i've had friends talk about it when people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go in circles. sometimes they go out to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. nobody takes anything. it's really a disgrace what's going on. the disgrace is that voter i.d., if you buy, you know, a box of cereal, if you do anything, you have a voter i.d. is there a clown car out there that people go and vote again and again and again? give me a break. >> president trump won college graduates by three points. in 2018 democrats won white college graduates by eight points. it's a massive shift and a bloc that republicans have been able to rely on.
from the suburbs of dallas and houston flipped red to blue for the first time. do you know who definitely understands that? republican politicians in the suburbs. the flip side is that president trump has been able to help republican republicans run up the score 2-1, 3-1. ohio is becoming a red state, ron desantis pulled out the governorship in florida. in the panhandle he was winning 3-1 in several important counties that are populous. this is a bifurcation we see. democrats are running up the score in metropolitan, blue, suburban areas. is that going to be enough for republicans in 2020? >> in response to president trump's claims that people are changing their clothes, cnn had a report on that, showing three kids going to school wearing a trench coat, standing on top of one another. he's walking a line with this not saying people vote illegally, he said potentially illegal votes. he's walking that line where he's not declaring outright that
it happened as he did after 2016, where he said there were 3 to 5 million votes cast illegally, but the president trying to sow doubt. we saw how he and his allies responded to this, especially the recounts in florida, that they were so critical of that in the end are turning out in their favor. i think it's a sign of what's to come. >> democrats have a challenge, too. are there three big national icons, beto o'rourke, stacey abrams, they all lost. the question is what's next. in the case of georgia, you have, a, the president suddenly being nice to them, a wrinkle to stacey abrams and andrew gillum. the president said there was fraud in florida, people get in their cars and change and the like. democrats are saying this election in georgia was stolen. >> i know stacey well. she was one of my really strong surrogates in the campaign. if she had a fair election, she
already would have won. >> if stacey abrams doesn't win in georgia, they stole it. it's clear. >> i think stacey abrams election was stolen from her to disenfranchise certain groups of people. >> their argument is voting rights, suppression of votes, intimidation. it's a difficult balance after an election. the new governor is going to take office. he's a republican. how do you handle this? >> part of it goes back to this bifurcation that we were talking about. it's being sorted into much redder places, bluer places. i went to college in southern california, spent a lot of time in richmond, virginia, two suburbs that are completely changing. and so the benefit for democrats is in places in the house, and in some places, like virginia, that may turn blue in a presidential race but it means other parts of the country are
getting redder. that's where a candidate like stacey abrams has more trouble as a result and the democrats can try the tactic of blaming voter suppression and some of these issues and no doubt some of that stuff is going on, but it's much more difficult when they are running in these kinds of red places to kind of change the dynamic. >> i think we will see in the house voting rights a big issue of the new democratic majority and number two, this issue has one more, mississippi runoff still to come after an american democratic candidate. we'll watch as that one plays out. his takeaway from the special counsel and something about it makes him very angry.
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let's do the work. the president spent several hours this past week with his lawyers, answering the questions of special counsel robert mueller. the questions will be answered this week he said, adding it was no big deal. >> you have to be careful when answering questions with people who probably have bad intentions, but the questions were very routinely answered, by me. by me. okay? >> the mood behind the scenes, though, was anything but routine. the president tells allies he's convinced the special counsel is gunning for him and gunning for his son, don junior. his lawyers wrestled with the answers, i'm told, because of specificity of some questions about then candidate president trump's phone calls and
meetings. his tweets made clear his anxiety. for example, he called mueller's investigators, thugs, saying that the inner workings are a mess, that the mueller team is screaming at witnesses and threatening them. but it's routine. all is calm. >> and he's not agitated at all, despite saying in all caps that it's the worst witch hunt in american history. i think that's why we've seen the president's agitation resurface, primarily because he had several hours of meetings with these lawyers, including monday when he got that criticism for not going out to arlington cemetery. he has been meeting with them. ahead of the midterms, he was able to push it off to the midterms. they didn't believe the special counsel would make any moves ahead of the election. president trump really wasn't number one on his mind. i do think we're making progress by having the president say he has completed the answers to these questions, that they're submitting them in the coming days is what he said yesterday, speaking with reporters.
that's after a year of negotiations between the special counsel and the president's legal team, despite the changes in the legal team, over whether or not he's going to sit down, whether or not he's going to answer these questions. the question after that, does he still want to do an interview in person after he gets these answers and where do we go from there? >> internally, they had it shut down around 60 days around the election. it's not just bob mueller. inside the white house they didn't think it was a problem that michael cohen was brought down to washington for more conversations this week, they delayed the hearing in the manaforte case. he's now cooperating. at white house they took that as a message to the white house as let's have the answers. >> if he got the weather wrong, he said, if you have bad intentions, you could accuse him of lying. his lawyers certainly know he
will have answered erroneously or falsely on something much bigger, whether a phone call he did or didn't have, a meeting he took or didn't take. he knows that the stakes are much higher than these little detailed things that he might get wrong. that is what has him on edge. the fact that mueller is hanging back and holding a lot of cards, both in his own investigation and, of course, the southern district, as you say, continues to hangover this whole situation. he doesn't know still all of what mueller has, despite his comments earlier this week, saying that inside the mueller investigation he knows what's going on. he really doesn't and that has him on edge. >> we're going to see a democratic house that has subpoena power. it has taken on a life of its own. if they can see something fishy there, they can follow up on it. >> the ones who are doing the actual detailed work and the questions and answers, i'm
told -- he told the washington post, meaning the president, some were unnecessary. some were possible traps. i keep going back to the point that robert mueller is not going to trap the president into is it raining that day or not? the weather question. that's absurd. if you have nothing to worry about, what's taking so long? and what could possibly be a trap if you did nothing wrong? >> the president and his lawyers don't have 100% visibility into this investigation but the questions themselves that came to the president are probably the best indication, or move that ball forward in the sense of communicating to trump and his lawyers, you know, some of the detailed stuff that the special counsel has been assembling. and that has got to be unnerving to them. when you all of a sudden are forced to answer not sort of generality questions about did you or didn't you? is there or isn't there collusion but rather specific questions, did you participate
in this meeting at this specific time or on this call? it's clear by the question that they have detailed records that they've been -- that the special counsel has been looking at. that's got to be what they're trying to be very careful about. >> there's been some grumbling on capitol hill that we need to protect bob mueller because the new acting attorney general before he took the job is on the reco record. >> matt whitaker, the acting a.g., not recuse himself, chuck schumer has said there needs to be a threat of shutdown to force that to happen. to prevent that in any way. i don't think democrats have a huge appetite for this, but i don't think it's a fight they're willing to back down with. >> we'll share our reporter's notebooks, one being the exception to the rule in that being donald trump means never having to say you're sorry.
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one more time around "inside politics" table, we'll ask our reporters to share something from their notebook. julie? >> i'm looking forward to the lame duck congress that we'll see come back after the holiday and some of the lame duck republicans who lost their races a couple of weeks ago and are going to be in a position to have to take their final votes when congress reconvenes. and it will be interesting to see, first of all, whether some of them show up at all. they've lost their races and some of them were dissed by name by the president of the united states, barbara comstock, carlos carbello. what's interesting is if republicans are in a position to take some tough votes, some issues where kevin mccarthy, paul ryan need to hold the party together on things like president trump's wall, will they be willing to go out on a
limb now that they've been insulted by the president and they're on their way out the door? >> good luck. >> thanksgiving is a time to be with our family but when president trump does thanksgiving, it's down in mar-a-lago and time for a lot of executive time. that means time to tweet, time to potentially stew about all the things he has to do. you'll remember a lot of things happen when he goes down there. back last year, it was in mar-a-lago when he tweeted about the former president obama wire tapping him. so, we'll be looking for does he fire kierstin nielsen, john kelly? will he issue new immigration proclamations? he will be down there almost an entire week and that's present of time to cause some mischief. >> some of those tweets i remember in the 5:00 a.m. hour. >> they are. >> get up early, folks. >> john, democratic strategists
are telling me the biggest lesson 2018 taught them on how to take on president trump is don't let him define the debate. don't take the bait. they were happy to play on his turf in 2016. they thought it would help them. turns out there was a method to all of that. it helped president trump and democrats lost. in 2018 they ignored his warnings about the caravan and decided to fight on economic issues like health care and taxes. it worked. and that's the lesson they're taking going forward and think that will be especially critical to winning back the upper mid western states in the rust belt, pennsylvania, michigan and wisconsin, that will probably decide the next presidential election. >> we'll see if they wait to pick a fight with the president. kaitlin? >> something that president trump did this last week that we rarely, if ever, see him do. that is mi admit a mistake.
he said he should have gone to arlington cemetery. he didn't because he just came back from that trip to paris. he had nothing on his schedule on monday, which raised questions from critics asking why he didn't make the trip out to arlington, a short drive from the white house. he says, quote in retrospect, i should have done that and that going forward, virtually, every year he will do it going forward. it is so rare to see the president admit that he did something or should have done something differently. apologizing or admitting mistake is essentially the opposite of the trump playbook, as you'll look back to "access hollywood," when he apologized for that, he later said he regretted apologizing for that. it's rare to see the president do that, especially something like this, that did cause negative headlines but not an uproar with things we've seen him do in the past. >> kudos for chris wallace for pressing him on that. i'll close with the lame duck
congress. jeff flake has told the president no, the senate most likely will not vote on that compromise brokered by the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. and when it pressed him for lame duck action on immigration and reform. there's more to the nos than a tight calendar. the leader knows he will be forced to compromise a lot more once the democrats take the house in january. so, in his view, why ask republicans to cast tough votes now and buy give away bargaining chips now when there's tougher days ahead? catch us weekdays here at noon eastern. up next, "state of the union" with jake tapper," his guests? senator jeff flake and candidate stacey abrams. have a great sunday.
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under pressure, president trump denies chaos in the white house and said he's prepared answers to the suppression counsel's questions. >> i've answered them easily. >> is the investigation almost over? senator jeff flake is here. and speaker showdown, democratic leader nancy pelosi faces a potential challenge to be the next speaker. >> sometimes you just need a different voice. >> will president trump give pelosi the boost she needs? >> i will give her