Pelosi and ‘field marshal’ Israel aren’t going anywhere

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Pelosi, with the women of the House. ()
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Democrats will go into the 2014 midterms with the same two leaders who directed the party's efforts this cycle.

Nancy Pelosi announced to the Democratic caucus this morning that she will stand for minority leader again, and Steve Israel will again lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

After announcing her decision to the caucus, Pelosi held a news conference at the Capitol, flanked by the Democratic women of the House, including New York Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney, who angled into prime spots next to the minority leader.

"A lot of our male friends really wanted to come out here," said a smiling Pelosi. "This is girl's morning out."

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Pelosi's decision effectively locks in the same leadership team that has guided the Democratic caucus for years. The only leadership race is for the vice chair spot, which is being sought by Queens Rep. Joe Crowley. Had Pelosi stepped down, she likely would have been succeeded by Rep. Steny Hoyer, an ally of Crowley.

Pelosi balked at a question about whether the House leadership, where the three top leaders are all over 70 years old, is stifling young leadership.

"So you're suggesting that everybody step aside?" Pelosi asked the reporter incredulously. "Let's for a moment honor it as a legitimate question. Although it's quite offensive, you don't realize that though."

Pelosi joked that the question wouldn't have been asked of Mitch McConnell.

Pelosi cited the gains Democrats made in last week's election, particularly among women, and the need to have at least one woman among the congressional leadership, among her reasons for staying.

"With the victory we had at the polls, I wouldn't think of walking away," she said, citing the 25 seats that Democrats won, though the party only gained a net of three seats. She said the 16 Republican incumbents who lost "will be replaced by the beautiful diversity that looks like America."

She called Israel a "spectacular field marshal" in leading the Democrats' cause in 2012, and she briefly paid her respects to a few women who had lost, including one New Yorker.

"Unfortunately we won't have Kathy Hochul…in this next Congress," she said.