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Nancy Pelosi likely to be elected minority leader, remain GOP target

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Nancy Pelosi wants another shot at being Democratic leader of the House, but those most enthusiastic about the idea seem to be the Republicans.

“Hire Pelosi,” a sign outside the Republican National Committee headquarters read after the House speaker announced Friday she was running for minority leader. The slogan was a play on “Fire Pelosi,” the vilifying cry from the right that experts say likely helped the GOP to win a majority in the House last week.

“The Republicans are very happy” about her candidacy, said Grant Reeher, director of the Alan K. Campbell Institute for Public Affairs at Syracuse University. “Going into 2012, they would love to be able to run against Nancy Pelosi again … someone you can hold up and scapegoat.”

More money and commercials were poured into campaigning against the California lawmaker this election season than against any other congressional leader since Newt Gingrich, CNN reported Monday.

With this in mind, a New York Times editorial on Sunday asked “Is she really the best the Democrats can come up with …?” A Washington Post columnist Monday wrote Rep. Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, should instead be minority leader. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the majority whip from South Carolina, has also been short listed.

Meanwhile, defeated House Democrats are writing Pelosi a letter asking her to step aside, Fox News reported Monday.

But the reality is that Pelosi is likely here to stay, said New York-based Democratic media consultant Joseph Mercurio. “She has a reputation for being a very good vote-counter, so I’d suspect that if she’s running, she has a very good idea of the vote,” he said.

With so many Blue Dog Democrats freshly ousted from Congress, there aren’t many moderates left to vote to the closer-to-center Hoyer, Mercurio said.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also likely to stay on as a party leader, will need more support from President Barack Obama going forward, Mercurio said.

“In terms of internal problems [among the Democrats], it wasn’t the House and Senate leadership, it was the White House doing such a bad job selling their policies,” he said.

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