"Madam Speaker": Susan Page's Portrait Of Political Power & Grace
(This conversation was originally aired on July 20, 2021)
Welcome to this archive edition of Midday. Today, a conversation about Nancy Pelosi, the most influential and powerful woman in American political history.
Born and raised in a tight-knit Italian family in a home on Albemarle Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of Baltimore, Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi is the daughter of a three-term Baltimore Mayor, and a politically savvy and adroit mother.
She learned politics early on, but she didn’t hold elective office until her mid-40s. First elected to Congress in 1987, she was elected Speaker of the House 20 years later; second in line to the Presidency, and the first woman to hold that position.
Her moral compass was shaped by her Catholic faith, and her political instincts were honed by her experience of motherhood. Democratic allies marvel at her mastery of the behind-the-scenes machinations of political sausage making.
Republicans, not so much. In 2018, the GOP spent more than $65 million dollars in ads attacking her, and during the insurrection at the Capital this year, Trump supporters chanted her name and ransacked her office.
Speaker Pelosi is the subject of an assiduously reported, fascinating and best-selling book by Susan Page, the award-winning Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today. Page interviewed Pelosi in ten different sessions, and she spoke to more than 150 others to compile a portrait of the Speaker that is revelatory and insightful. The book is called Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power.
Susan Page joined Tom on Midday’s digital line from Washington, DC, in July. Because our conversation was pre-recorded, we won’t be able to take any new comments or questions.