Nancy Pelosi hails herself as best person to lead Democrats in House

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Democrat Nancy Pelosi has said she is confident she will win enough support to be elected speaker of the US House of Representatives next year.

The California Democrat says she is the “best person” for the job and the person most capable of unifying Democrats now that they have won the majority in the lower chamber of the US Congress.

Ms Pelosi told reporters that her pitch for another turn with the gavel is about the future. She said: “It’s not about what you have done, it’s about what you can do.”

Democrats won the House majority on in the US midterm elections, securing the 218 seats needed for the majority. Ms Pelosi was speaker when Democrats last held the majority in 2010.

Ms Pelosi said Democrats will “strive for bipartisanship” when they take over the majority next year.

She said Democrats “have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can”, adding: “Where we cannot, we must stand our ground.”

Ms Pelosi says she worked productively with former president George W Bush when she was speaker a decade ago and would like to do so again with US President Donald Trump.

She said: “We’d like to work together so our legislation will be bipartisan.”

Election 2018 Women
Nancy Pelosi marches in the Women’s March in January (Cliff Owen/AP)

She also said she has no regrets about discouraging Democratic candidates from engaging with Mr Trump on immigration issues during the midterms.

She said it was important “not to take the bait like the president was putting out there”.

Ms Pelosi said immigrants come to the US with values such as determination, courage and optimism, and that they make the country more American.

She said other presidents saw that, but “this president used it in fearmongering. I just don’t think that’s right”.

But she said that in order to get into a position to fight Mr Trump on the issue, Democrats had to first win on issues affecting the financial security of working families.

The House Democratic leader said Democrats will have a “responsibility for oversight” when they take charge in January.

If elected speaker, Ms Pelosi said she will leave final decisions about that oversight to committees. She would not answer a question about whether they will seek Mr Trump’s tax filings

But she said committee requests for documents or hearings will not be “scattershot”.

Democrats are expected to investigate Mr Trump’s business dealings, his cabinet’s conduct and his campaign’s ties to Russia.

Ms Pelosi said: “we’ll know what we are doing and we’ll do it right.”

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