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MSNBC Interview - Transcript


Location: Washington, DC



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MS. BREWER: Democratic Congressman John Larson from Connecticut joins us live from Capitol Hill. Congressman Larson is the chair of the House Democratic caucus.

You know, after Nancy Pelosi made those startling accusations against the CIA, Congressman, we heard Steny Hoyer come up and sort of hem and haw. He didn't come forward with a real vote of support for Nancy Pelosi. Is there going to be a change in the Democratic leadership because of the brouhaha?

REP. LARSON: Oh, none whatsoever. The Democratic caucus stands firmly behind Nancy Pelosi, as does Steny Hoyer stand with her. I mean, she has done an outstanding job moving this nation forward, working directly with Barack Obama. That's the important thing.

Only inside the Beltway is this a distraction. I think our focus continues to be on making sure that we have health care for American citizens, and that we make sure as well that we have an economy that's moving forward, propelled by the advances we're going to make in energy independence, and putting people back to work. That's the real agenda that's in front of us.

MR. WATSON: But, Congressman Larson, we've seen -- just in the last decade, we've seen two such coups: Speaker Gingrich went down following the '98 election and Trent Lott went down in 2002. And in both cases, I remember supporters like yourself coming on, and saying, "It's not an issue. It's going to blow over. It's going to move on." Is there not legitimate concern here that -- over what is a critical issue certainly for the base that Nancy Pelosi could be in some trouble?

REP. LARSON: Believe me when I say this, Nancy Pelosi is not in any trouble. If anything, the wagons are circling more around the speaker during this time. When you're attacked in the Beltway by Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, I mean, that says it all.

MS. BREWER: But, Congressman --

REP. LARSON: And I think the American people understand that --

MS. BREWER: There are --

REP. LARSON: -- and I think they get that.

MS. BREWER: There are already major criticisms that she hasn't been able to deliver on her promises: that she told people that we would be out of Iraq and we're still there, that she promised this Congress --

REP. LARSON: She's moved on her major promises to make sure that children got health care. She's moved on the major promises to put America back to work. She's moving at the speed of light legislatively, and that's what the Republicans object to.

MS. BREWER: But the Blue -- there are Blue Dog Democrats who won't even let her attend fundraisers in their districts.

REP. LARSON: Well, listen, I'll tell you right now, what -- America's focus is not on what's happening here in the Beltway, but by the accomplishments of this Congress and this president. There's a lot more to come. We've got our sleeves rolled up. We understand when you're out of power, all you're going to -- all you have room to do is just say no, you have no plans, and you continue to try to obstruct.

This is a diversion. What's at stake here for America is health care for all of our citizens, making sure that we're putting people back to work, and also making sure that we're energy independent, have a cleaner environment, and with that, the jobs that we need to move us into the next century. That's where Democrats remain focused, and they support Nancy Pelosi, who has been our leader in this all the way through it.

MR. WATSON: Congressman Larson, we only have 10 seconds. I know you care a lot about energy independence. You've spent --


MR. WATSON: -- 10-plus years working on it. Do you think we'll get a major bill passed this year? I've only got a few seconds.

REP. LARSON: Yes, I do. And I commend the committees that are working on it: Henry Waxman, Ed Markey, the whole Commerce Committee working in conjunction with Ways & Means. It is going to happen and it's going to happen this year.

MR. WATSON: We'll check back in with you. Congressman Larson --

REP. LARSON: We look forward to it.

MR. WATSON: -- thank you.

REP. LARSON: Carlos and Contessa, thank you for having me on.

MS. BREWER: Thank you.

MR. WATSON: Thank you, sir.

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