Nancy Pelosi Talks with Alan

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 20, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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Alan had the chance just the other day to speak exclusively with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.


ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: I want to begin by asking you about Tom DeLay, and Howard Dean who said he thinks Tom DeLay should go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence. Do you agree with what Howard Dean said?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: No. As I have said on many occasions, when the press has asked me about Mr. DeLay, any one of us in our country is innocent until proven otherwise. And the process has to work its way.

And so I have no idea what the facts of the case are relating to Mr. DeLay. And I don't associate myself with the comment of the distinguished chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I do associate myself with the remarks of Barney Frank who said what I said, is we're innocent until proven otherwise.

COLMES: To you support Howard Dean as chairman? Do you think that he is the appropriate person at this time to be chairman of the party?

PELOSI: Oh, I think Howard Dean is making a great chairman of the Democratic National Committee. What this party needs is an organizer who can organize the party at the grassroots level, who can build the infrastructure of the party. You can't do that without inspiration and a sense of organization. And I believe that he brings both to the table.

COLMES: He also just said, "There's corruption at the highest level of the Republican Party." Is that your view, as well?

PELOSI: Well, I do believe that we should remove all doubt in the public's mind who we're here to work for. It's about the public and the public interest. I think there is a perception — and one that is well- founded — that what is done here is in the special interest, and we should change that.

COLMES: Let's talk about Social Security. You have been criticized, and Democrats have been criticized for, while being critical of what the Republicans want to do, not having specific ideas. I know you want to get the money back into the trust fund. I know you have said that.

But specifically, can you tell the American people what can be done to shore it up, even if it's not an imminent crisis?

PELOSI: Well, first of all, your point is correct. And President Bush has made that point to us, that there is no crisis with Social Security. There is a problem down the road that he wants to address before it becomes a crisis. We all agree with that. That's privately.

When he goes outside, he says Social Security is in crisis, it's going to be bankrupt. Not true. We do have a crisis — not a crisis. We have a problem down the road 50 years from now. We have time to do it right.

Our plan is to stop privatization, which bleeds trillions of dollars from the Social Security trust fund. We want to stop deficit spending and pay-as-you-go, so these high deficits will not again take money from Social Security with no intention of paying it back.

So save Social Security first, stop privatization. Stop bleeding the money from the Social Security trust fund. Pay the trust fund back the money that has been borrowed from it.

COLMES: There was just a vote to approve $82 billion — talking about dealing with solvency issues — $82 billion more dollars for the war in Iraq. You voted with the majority, 368 to 58, that included some nonmilitary spending, as well, like money for a new U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and a million dollars for some members' projects back home.

Does Congress really — do Democrats really need to take a stronger position not to continue to vote to fund a war that so many on the left don't agree with?

PELOSI: Well, first of all, I opposed the war from the start. As the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee at the time, I said that the intelligence did not support the threat.

I think that, not only was the decision to go into the war wrong, but the fact that there was no plan for what to do with the fall of Baghdad and the two years since then. So I think I'm a very — I know that I'm a very strong critic of the entry into, and the conduct of the war, and the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad.

Having said that, our troops are in harm's way. They need equipment to protect themselves to get the job done to bring stability to Iraq, so they can come home safely and soon. I visited the theater now three times, once right before the initiation of hostilities, and two times directly into Iraq, met with the troops, see that they had — we have sent our young men and women into harm's way without the proper equipment.

The Defense Department itself has said probably 25 percent of those who have died or who have been seriously injured could have been saved if they had the proper equipment. So when it comes time to make sure that our troops do, I will be there to support them.

I do believe that this administration needs a strategy for success. It needs to insist on the transfer of security to the Iraqis from the U.S. forces. That can only happen with the training of the Iraqi forces. The administration has been delinquent in doing a proper job to bring our troops home soon.


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