Hoyer Claims No 'Bad Blood' With Pelosi

The Associated Press
Sunday, November 19, 2006; 3:24 PM

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Steny Hoyer acknowledged Sunday he was seeking assurances from incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she would not retaliate against his supporters after he won the No. 2 House leadership post.

Hoyer, D-Md., insisted there was "no bad blood" with Pelosi after she publicly supported Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania for the job of majority leader. Hoyer said he was confident Pelosi would not punish House colleagues who voted 149-86 last week to make Hoyer the majority leader when Democrats take control in January.

"We're going to talk about that," said Hoyer, when asked whether Pelosi had made promises not to retaliate by denying choice committee assignments. "One of the reasons it's going to not happen is that there are a lot of them."

"It's one thing ... if you have a margin of one or two or five or even 10, but when you have a margin as decisively as the caucus made a decision, then it's time to move on," Hoyer said.

Last week, Democrats chose Hoyer _ who has long had a difficult relationship with Pelosi, D-Calif., _ after unanimously backing her as the first female speaker.

On Sunday, Hoyer sought to play down any personal differences or ill will, noting that the two have worked together in the House Democratic leadership for many years.

"The American public have just given us a big mandate for change and taken the country in a new direction," he said. "Nancy and I share that obligation together. That's our objective and we're going to work very closely to accomplish that."

Former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich called Pelosi's decision to support Murtha a "mistake" but said Republicans should not underestimate her.

"Republicans, instead of chortling about ... the fact that she backed Murtha rather than Hoyer ... need to start by saying, you know, if she has these weaknesses, how come she's going to be speaker? She won," Gingrich said.

"She did make a mistake with Murtha," he added. "I think if she appoints Alcee Hastings to be the head of intelligence, that will be a further mistake in the direction of making her far too left-wing and far too insensitive."

Pelosi has not said whom she would appoint to lead the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings, D-Fla., and Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, are considered front-runners to take over in what has been considered a snub to the current senior Democrat on the panel, Rep. Jane Harman of California.

Pelosi has told Harman she will not be reappointed to the committee after her position expires at year's end. Hastings, the next senior Democrat on the committee, is a former federal judge who was charged in an FBI bribery sting but was acquitted by a federal jury. Later, he was impeached by the House and removed from the bench in 1989 by the Senate.

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