This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," February 7, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: A month ago Speaker Pelosi took over as speaker of the House. This is the first time we have a woman speaker. As President Bush noted as he gave State of the Union Address, this is a historic event.
We are curious what the new speaker has to say one month into the job. We figured you are too, so we want to her office earlier today and talked to her.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. It has been more than a month. How is the job?
REP NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: It's great. It's great. We have a great view from the speaker's office and an even better view from the speaker's chair.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's an extremely powerful, important job and it affects so much. Is there a side of it that's fun?
PELOSI: Oh, I haven't got to that yet.
VAN SUSTEREN: Really?
PELOSI: It was fun being sworn it. It was fun getting the votes and confidence of my colleagues that I would be the speaker of the House and then really dawning on me the — how important this is but largely it's been a great deal of work, but I enjoy it.
VAN SUSTEREN: When the State of the Union occurred and the president turned around to you I imagine it was a thrill.
PELOSI: It was pretty thrilling, especially when he referenced my father, whom he said — who was in Congress when I was born, actually, and he said my father had been there for States of the Union for other presidents but none could be more thrilling for him than to have his daughter be the first woman speaker of the House. That was very generous for the president.
VAN SUSTEREN: So your father was here for Roosevelt and Truman?
PELOSI: Yeah, that's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so, were you ever here with your father? Do you remember as a child being here with your father?
PELOSI: I do. I remember my first visit to the capital, the first visit that I can remember and that was about four years old and I came in from my father's swearing in and I had five older brothers and we were all in the car and as we approached the Capitol they kept saying to me, "Nancy, there's the Capitol, there's the Capitol, Capitol of the United States" and I kept looking and thinking I don't see it. And they said, "it's right in front of you, it's the Capitol, look right there."
And I said, "I don't see any Capitol" and they said it again and I said, "well, is it a capital A, a capital B or a capital C "and they said, "oh no, it's something quite different."
VAN SUSTEREN: And little did you know that you'd be leading it.
PELOSI: Little did I know.
VAN SUSTEREN: How many times have you been to Iraq?
PELOSI: Well, I've been to the theater about five times.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you just got back a short time ago. How many days were you there this time?
PELOSI: We were five days, five countries.
VAN SUSTEREN: And in Iraq about how long?
PELOSI: Well, in Iraq for a day. We went into Kuwait to get briefed going in. And then meeting with the speaker in Kuwait to get the view of a country in the region. Spent a day in Iraq, then went on to Pakistan, met with the president of Pakistan, then to Afghanistan, meet with the president of Afghanistan, so — and then to Europe to talk to our NATO friends about what was going on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you come away with any ideas or — I mean, we hear so much stateside about how — well, we hear so many conflicting things, but basically we all want a solution. Did you come away with any ideas?
PELOSI: We went there questioning the president's policy but hopeful, but hopeful that we would find some reason to think that it could work. Sadly we saw no evidence of that because.
VAN SUSTEREN: In what way? In what way did you see no evidence of it?
PELOSI: Well, first of all the president is talking about an escalation of a military solution. The military has done magnificently and excellently. Everything they had been asked to do but unless there are political and diplomatic solutions, their hands are tied behind their backs. Now is not the time for escalation, a decision which should have been made at the onset of hostilities to be adequately manned, personed, whatever the word is, now. But, now, there aren't enough troops — we don't have enough troops trained to the level to go in there now anyway.
VAN SUSTEREN: When you came back, did you speak to the president about your trip? Did you tell this and how did he react to this?
PELOSI: The president was very generous with his time when we came back. We went to the White House, our entire group to give our view of what we saw there. As we did going to the region, we brought to the president's office, with us, decades of experience on the region and on issues relating to our national security. It was a hefty group in terms of these issues. The president knew that, he respected that, he gave us a great deal of time. He did not agree with our conclusions.
VAN SUSTEREN: It sounds like, and correct me if I'm wrong, you're saying that the president was polite. He listened to you. He didn't agree with you, so nothing's changed or is that — I mean at least from, what — the message you brought had no impact.
PELOSI: Well, let's say this, there were some facts that we could stipulate to in terms of the need for the Iraqi government to do more in terms of political and diplomatic initiatives, we all agree on that. That the Iraqis have to take more responsibility for their government and their own security, we agree on that. Where we disagree is that the number of troops that the president is sending in is going to do anything more than just either postpone the inevitable or do that and with a great loss of life of American troops.
VAN SUSTEREN: Hours ago we took a quick trip up Capitol Hill to get the new speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: There's a story out there about this dispute over an airplane. What — according to the Washington Times, this morning, is that there is a battle between — my word "battle" — between your office and the White House, maybe the Defense Department, about what type of aircraft — I know that Speaker Hastert had Air Force aircraft after 9/11 to transport him for security reasons, since he's second in line succession, now that's your job. What's the dispute? And what's the story?
PELOSI: Well, the — this is about transportation. It's not about a plane. Myself, I wish I didn't have to have so much security, because I like my freedom of mobility, but being, second in line of succession, and since 9/11, Mr. Hastert had that transportation provided. It was thought by the sergeant of arms office, who provides for the security for Congress that, that should be continued. It's their call as to what security is needed for the speaker of the House, and they requested that.
Where the misrepresentations and mischaracterizations came from, I don't know, perhaps the Defense Department, because I've been one of their critics. But I'll say this, I know it didn't come from the president of the United States. Because he has been, if anything, very definite in saying to me, you need to have the security you have. So, this isn't about.
VAN SUSTEREN: It's about the size of the plane. I think that's what the dispute was.
PELOSI: It was the distance.
VAN SUSTEREN: The distance — oh, well, you're from California, we can't do anything about that.
PELOSI: The distance.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean.
PELOSI: Nor do we want to.
VAN SUSTEREN: Right. And Speaker Hastert was Illinois, the mid-part of the country.
PELOSI: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I thought that the dispute was somewhat over whether it was the three Air Force planes, one is about the size of a 757, one's a 737, and one's about the size of a Gulf Stream, those are the three that are — seem to be in discussion.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any — I mean, is there any problem with the - - are you actually asking for a particular size?
VAN SUSTEREN: Or is it just a plane that can go a particular distance?
PELOSI: Well, no, they told me the first day that I was supposed to go that I couldn't make it across the country. And I said well, that's fine, I'm going commercial. I don't — you know, I'm not asking to go on that plane. If you need to take me there for security purposes, you're going to have to get a plane that goes across the country, because I'm going home to my family.
The — and, and — really, I'm happy to go commercial. But they want me to go on this plane, so the issue was distance, not size. And again, it's not about having a plane. It's about having transportation. These planes are used for other purposes in between — in between trips, which are, you know, take place one or twice a week, going or coming. So, it isn't about that. But there are probably those in the Department of Defense who are not happy with my criticism of Secretary Rumsfeld, the war in Iraq, other waste, fraud and abuse in the Defense Department and I guess this is their way of making their voices heard. But it has nothing to do, as I say, with the president of the United States. He has encouraged my having the security I need.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I have sort of a solution, maybe if we put on the Internet, everybody in the government who uses these planes and, you know, when they go, so people on the Internet..
VAN SUSTEREN: Because, look, you know, as a citizen, you know, I sometimes see whether it's a Republican administration or Democrat, I see people showing up at the same event on different planes, instead of carpooling on the plane, occasionally, not often, but if we put on the Internet, let the voters see, and let the voters decide.
PELOSI: Well, I'm happy to be rid of all the security that I have, as I say, I like my independence and my mobility. They have a job to do. It's not just only about protecting me, as the speaker of the House, it's about making sure they know where I am at any given moment, so, in case of a — something happening in our country. The speaker, the leaders in the House and the Senate have to be pulled together immediately, so that's part of it as well. But it's interesting to me that somebody at the Pentagon decided that they would misrepresent, mischaracterize this, but again. I know it's not coming from the president of the United States.
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