ABC "Good Morning America" - Transcript
ABC "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" INTERVIEW WITH HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA)
SUBJECT: CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION INTERVIEWER: ROBIN ROBERTS
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MS. ROBERTS: The president is poised to wrap up his inaugural trip abroad.
We're joined this morning by the highest ranking woman in the history of American politics and the author of the best-seller, Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Madame Speaker, thank you very much for being with us.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Good morning, Robin.
MS. ROBERTS: Let's talk a bit about the president's trip first.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes.
MS. ROBERTS: And we heard in Jake Tapper's report from Istanbul, David Axelrod jokingly saying that the expectations from the president, the people thought he was going to part the skies and sunshine and all that, but there were some realistic expectations that he had about the strategy in Afghanistan about getting European countries on board with their stimulus packages; moderate progress with that on those two major fronts.
What did he make progress with?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, I think he made tremendous progress on changing the opinion of the world about America. I sadly see your coverage of the earthquake in Italy. When I called President Berlusconi yesterday to extend the sympathies of the American people and of the Congress of the United States after he gave me his view of what was happening in the earthquake site, he took the time to talk about how successful President Obama's visit was to Europe, that he was well received and that he started a new conversation about America and it's role in the world.
So that was part of the agenda as well. In terms of the specifics, he made change, he made a difference and it's a good start.
MS. ROBERTS: But he did meet some criticism, especially North Korea, which has been in the news and the president's response to the missile launch there, Newt Gingrich said this about that. He said, quote, "It was a vivid demonstration of weakness in foreign policy." And he went to say, "That the U.S. is under greater risk of attack under President Obama than President Bush."
How do you respond to that?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Well, I don't respond to that. What I do say though is that when President Obama did was very strong. It showed the strength and the confidence of saying we should move toward reducing all the nuclear weapons in the world. This is the path that our country has been on for a long time. It is what he said during the campaign and it, rather than an arms race is the answer to making the world a safer place and it is the appropriate attitude to have vis-a-vis North Korea.
We certainly have to focus in a general way, an international, global response to North Korea or any other country that wants to develop a nuclear weapon. We cannot go in that direction. The new direction of President Obama is the strong one.
MS. ROBERTS: Let's bring it back here at home for a moment. There are so many issues on peoples' minds. This past weekend, in the past week, we've seen a lot of mass shootings.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes.
MS. ROBERTS: And the shooter in Pennsylvania -- he was stated as saying that, part of the reason why he purchased the AK-47 that he feared that under the Obama administration that he would reinstate the assault weapon ban. How do you reconcile that with the work that you have to do in trying to stem these types of surges in gun purchases?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Clearly, this is a sick person, so whatever excuse he uses for his behavior is about that sickness. But it's important to note that since from March 10th to April 5th, 53 people have been the victims of gun violence in our country, four officers in Oakland, California, the experience in New York more recent and even many more people killed. We have to have answers to this. We have to find some level of compromise. But now we have a debate in Congress over the District of Columbia wanting a vote on the floor of the House, something we all want, that's a civil rights issue and yet they want to put a gun, a draconian gun bill attached to that.
I don't think that that should be the price to pay to have a vote on the floor of the House, but we have to find some middle ground.
MS. ROBERTS: Under the Bush administration, you pretty much said the ball was in their court when it came to reinstating the ban and now it's a Democratic president --
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes.
MS. ROBERTS: A Democratic House. Is the ball in your court where this is concerned?
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes, it is and we are just going to have to work together to come to some resolution because the court in the meantime, in recent months, the Supreme Court has ruled in a direction that gives more opportunity for people to have guns. We've never denied that right. We don't want to take their guns away. We want them registered. We don't want them crossing state lines as this legislation would do in the District of Columbia.
We wouldn't tell any other state what to do, but Congress wants to tell the District of Columbia. So in any event, there's tremendous work ahead on this and we have to rid the debate of the misconceptions people have about what gun safety means.
MS. ROBERTS: Final question: Know Your Power.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes.
MS. ROBERTS: It's now in paperback, it's been a best-seller, 22 percent of the world's leaders are women around the world, 17 percent here in the U.S. and you say mothers, young mothers can make a difference.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes, indeed, and one of the reasons I'm spending a couple of days on this is that we really need more women involved in government in our country. Nothing is more wholesome than the fuller participation of women and I want to reach out in my book, give some guidance as to how I went from housewife to House Speaker.
MS. ROBERTS: Madame Speaker, I'm sorry, thank you very much.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Thank you.
MS. ROBERTS: -- Web site to get more information.
SPEAKER PELOSI: Thank you. My pleasure.
MS. ROBERTS: Thank you very much for being with us.