She’s the third most powerful person in the United States, the third in line to the Big Chair inside the White House, and she’s a woman, the highest ranked woman, therefore, in American history. 

Nancy Pelosi, the 68-year-old San Francisco native and mother of five, became the speaker in the US House of Representatives following the Democrats resounding win in the 2006 mid term elections. She has been named the Permanent Chair at the 2008 Democratic National Congress. 

Profile. A native of Baltimore, Ms Pelosi comes from a large Italian-American, Roman Catholic family. She is also the child of one of Baltimore’s foremost political families – both her father and brother served as mayor. Her San Francisco congressional district, which she has represented since 1987, is seen as one of the most liberal in the nation … She had been considering running for mayor in 1987 when her local congresswoman fell ill and died. Ms Pelosi won the seat in a special election and has remained in place since. The 66-year-old already made history when she won election to the role of House Democratic leader in 2002, the first woman to do so. – BBC

The woman two heartbeats away from the White House. She was born into a political family in Baltimore in 1940. Her father was a congressman for Maryland and also served as mayor of Baltimore. Pelosi and her six siblings were put into service by their father, stuffing campaign envelopes and maintaining his “favour file” – a catalogue of favours given and those owed. The training served Pelosi well. On entering politics, with the backing of her husband’s $15m (£7.9m) fortune, she put her own children to work. She also maintains a modern equivalent of the “favour file” – a database of 29,000 loyal donors, most of them cultivated personally by the indefatigable Pelosi.– The Guardian

Don’t mess with Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, portrays herself as a polite, grandmotherly lady. She constantly discusses her five grandchildren, makes sure her office is stocked with Ghirardelli chocolates, perpetually smiles and never swears in a business in which almost everyone else does … Don’t believe it for a second. Would your grandmother ever say, “If people are ripping your face off, you have to rip their face off” (Pelosi’s approach to handling attacks from Republicans)? How about “If you take the knife off the table, it’s not very frightening anymore” (her explanation for why she won’t let voters forget George W. Bush’s unpopular Social Security proposal from last year)? – Perry Bacon Jr, Time

Pelosi: “I’m trying to save the planet”. [Pelosi] hit the national television circuit Monday with her new book, “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters.” Next month, she’ll chair the convention in Denver that will nominate Barack Obama — “the next president of the United States. I feel very certain of that,” Pelosi says. From Medicare to housing to the new GI Bill, her Democrats have driven the legislative train more than the White House has in recent months. And even when the Democratic Party gave ground to the White House on terrorism surveillance, Pelosi’s credentials were such that Obama felt safer embracing the deal — after she did so first publicly. – Politico

The heart of queens. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is proving to be the surprise O. Henry ending to last November’s elections. The American voters gave Democrats clear control of Congress, rebuked President George W. Bush, and voiced an unequivocal public craving to trade in customary narrow-minded politics for something more inspiring. Yet motivated by partisan concerns over the 2008 elections, the new speaker is following President Bush around like a sheep while he solidifies an imperial presidency and diminishes the Congress into irrelevancy. Just look at the latest ACLU advertisement targeting Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The only thing Pelosi has retained for the Congress is small-minded earmarks to attract political contributions. — Slate

Peter Fray

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