Pelosi: Health-care vote didn’t cost Democrats the House

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday took issue with a reporter's suggestion that House Democrats might have lost their House majority -- and Pelosi, by extension, lost her speakership -- in the 2010 election because of their votes for President Obama's health-care law.

Pelosi instead pointed to another vote: the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), also known as the bailout.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said votes in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program cost Democrats in the House more politically than on the Affordable Care Act. (The Washington Post)

"I don’t even buy into the idea that we lost the election because of health care. One of the most damaging votes that our members had to take was the TARP,” Pelosi said at a news briefing. “The Democrats were the one who saved the day with that vote, and people never really got over that vote."

Pelosi said the TARP vote is really the one that spurred the tea party movement that helped Republicans win a nearly unheard-of 63 House seats in 2010. The health-care law is often cited as planting the seeds for the tea party movement -- especially after Republican Scott Brown's upset win in the 2010 Massachusetts special Senate election.

“(TARP) was the vote that really soured people. They didn’t like that vote at all. And they judged many other things in light of bailing out the banks but not bailing out Main Street," Pelosi said. "I think that was probably the toughest vote members had to take.”

TARP passed with more Democratic votes than Republican ones, but it did have bipartisan support. Several Republicans were targeted in primaries because of their votes for the bailout.

Update 11:58 a.m.: Mike Shields, who ran House Republicans' ad campaign in the 2010 election, counters with this:

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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Aaron Blake · October 23, 2013