The Rachel Maddow Show | November 14, 2012
>>> the new senate just got bluer today. the new senator from the great state of maine , the independent angus king announced that he would caucus with the democratic party . because mr. king was elected to senate has an independent, leghe got to choose the party he would associate himself with. and like bernie sanders and joe lieberman before him, angus king today chose the democratic party . and that means unless the flake car mowno race gets upended in arizona, which is still counting ballots, unless that happens, we now know that the senate split starting in january is going to be 55 democrats and 45 republicans . we also know that democrats went from having 12 women in the senate to having the 16 women in the senate . that's four more democratic women in the u.s. senate . among the republicans in the senate , their number of women actually dropped. they went from 5 to 4. in the house , it's the same pattern. as best as we can tell thus far, there are still some things to be decided yet, but the democratic caucus in the house added eight women . there used to be 52 democratic women in the house . in january, there will be 60. on the republican side , though, they went down again. they went from having only 24 women in the house on the republican side to having only 20 women in the house starting in january. so even with there being more republicans in the house than democrats overall, even though democrats are the smaller party overall in the house , democrats now have triple the number of women that the republicans have in that house . nancy pelosi , the leader of the democrats in the house and the first woman to ever be speaker of that body, today she announced that although with every single woman member of her caucus, all 60 of them, that she would put her name in to stay the leader to have the democrats in the house . as we tried to preview on this show last night, that was not a terrific surprise to anyone. what was a surprise, though, was the answer that leader pelosi gave to nbc's luke russert when he asked today whether she and the rescue of the democratic leadership should consider stepping aside, simply to make room for younger members. the first reaction to the question was that the women standing with her on that stage started booing the question, literally. but then she went on to answer.
>> some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and will be -- and hurts the party in the long-term. what's your response?
>> leader pelosi?
>> i guess -- you always ask that question, except to mitch mcconnell .
>> excuse me, you, mr. hoyer, mr. clyburn, you're all over 70. is it going to prohibit younger leadership from moving forward.
>> so you're suggesting that everybody step aside ?
>> i'm simply saying, does this --
>> i think that what you will see, and let's, for a moment, honor it as a legitimate question. although it's quite offensive. but you don't realize that, i guess. the fact is, the fact is, is that everything that i have done in my almost decade of leadership is to elect younger and newer people to the congress. in my own personal experience , it was very important for me to elect young women . i came to congress when my youngest child, alexandra, was a senior in high school , practically on her way to college. i knew that my male colleagues had come when they were 30. they had a jump on me, because they didn't have to -- i did what i wanted to do. i was blessed to have that opportunity, to sequentially raise my family and then come to congress. but i wanted women to be here in greater numbers at an earlier age so that their seniority would start to account much sooner. so i don't have any concern about that. and as i've always said to you, you've got to take off that 14 years for me, because i was home raising a family, getting the best of experience of all in diplomacy, interpersonal skills. no, the answer is no.
>> and no. in case all of the booing and then the applauding for me and all of the rest of it didn't make it clear, no, the answer is no. so with an exclamation point on it today, the democratic leadership in the house is in tact. but the republicans actually had a contested leadership fight this year. they weren't fighting for the top jobs. that's going to stay john boehner . they're actually fighting for the number four job in the house . the contest was tom price against one of the precious few republican women in the house , cathy mcmorris rodgers . and there were some interesting politics at work here. miss mcmorris rodgers had the support of speaker john boehner , but tom price had the support of this guy, the republican party 's vice presidential nominee , paul ryan . in the end, it was cathy mcmorris rodgers who won. paul ryan 's guy lost. and so even as they lose the presidency, thanks to a devastating gender gap in the polls, and at the same time they send even fewer republican women to congress than were there before, republicans did today pick for this small, low-profile national republican number four leadership role an actual woman. and that's the best they've ever done. that's the highest ranking gop woman there has ever been in the house . back over on the senate side, republicans are faced with a dilemma set up for them by john mccain , as i was just discussing with bill burton. john mccain is suggesting that the party's big, first high-profile political stand of the obama second term should be republicans blocking this person's promotions to potentially be secretary of state. the president may nominate u.n. ambassador susan rice to replace hillary clinton as secretary of state. and already, republicans in the senate led by john mccain are threatening to block her nomination. he called her today "not too bright" and said she's unqualified for the position. yes, the republicans have a demographics problem in the house and the senate and nationwide. but it is not just a demographics problem. it's never just a demographics problem, right? and there is a decision to make now for the republicans , about whether the whiter, ever ever-more-male party who just lost the election badly in the senate is now going to work its butt off in the senate to block the nomination of this african-american women secretary of state nominee, whose crazy uncles who watch fox news told them the attack in benghazi wasn't an attack, it was a conspiracy. the person i most want to ask about that dynamic in washington right now is probably nancy pelosi herself. and guess what, nancy pelosi , the leader of the democrats in the house will be our guest tomorrow for her first interview since her big announcement about staying in charge today. we obviously have lots to discuss. we'll be right back.