"I believe that she is not the leader for the future of the Democratic Party".
It was at the heart of their strategy to turn out reliably Republican voters who might be queasy with Trump's first five months in office, but did not want to see Pelosi and national Democrats celebrate a marquee victory in their own backyard. Several won re-election previously despite having more Democratic voters than Republicans in their districts. "Do you think people went to the polls and said, 'Oh my God, we've got to stop Nancy Pelosi?' I don't think so", said Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.
Several Democratic lawmakers have said Pelosi's position as a prominent face of the Democratic Party will continue to make winning elections hard.
Looking at the campaign ads eventual victor Karen Handle ran in the Georgia race, one would have thought she was running against Pelosi, not Jon Ossoff.
New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, congratulated both Ossoff and South Carolina Democrat Archie Parnell on Tuesday night for narrowing the GOP's winning margins in their districts from last fall.
All the races were on GOP-friendly terrain.
"So", she said, "we are paving a way for a new generation of leadership".
"We can't keep losing races and keep the same leadership in place". Pelosi was a central figure in the millions of dollars in ads Republicans ran against Ossoff, even though Ossoff had never even committed to supporting Pelosi as Minority Leader. Should Democrats ditch Nancy Pelosi as their leader? "That would be very bad for the Republican Party".
The president slammed Pelosi's record after the Democratic special election losses, explaining that it would be a "very, very sad day for Republicans' if Nancy Pelosi steps down".
Ossoff's race against Republican Karen Handel was the most expensive House race in history. It's not fair. It's not accurate in its attacks on our leader, but it's effective. "If we don't, then I think it's incumbent upon her and all of us to reassess who our leadership should be". But Pelosi is so deeply entrenched in this narrative; she's been so demonized by Republicans, for so many years, that her presence could likely make it hard to win over new blood. If you live in a Democratic district, you should write, call or email your Democrat congressman and let him or her know that you support - no demand - that Pelosi stay right where she is.
That non-answer didn't work - so some Democrats on Wednesday were going further in distancing themselves from the former speaker. Democrats have been chafing in the minority since they were thrust there in 2010 after risky votes in favor of President Barack Obama's initiatives including the Affordable Care Act.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also spoke of the potent tool Pelosi is for Republicans to use against Congressional Democrats.
Pelosi said her prayers were with the badly wounded Republican House whip, Steve Scalise, and the Capitol Police and Hill staffers who also were hit. But that's because all of us worked with her and she's given us those opportunities.