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Pelosi: ‘I never expected anything but a double standard’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), appearing Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said she agreed with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton that female leaders face a double standard, yet she pretty much expected it.  And, like Clinton, she advised women to grow a thick skin.  Pelosi’s comments were in response to Clinton’s comments at a glitzy Women in the World conference in New York where she shared a stage (and a high-five) with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

In an interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Clinton and Lagarde talked about how the news media often reports on how they look, particularly their hair, and how they labor under a double standards.  Clinton said the double standard is “alive and well,” and reporters need to be more “self-consciously aware” of it.

In a separate interview with actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Pelosi was asked by a New York Times reporter what she does to make men more comfortable with her power, and she offered this glimpse of how she lets the boys know she’s come to play:

“[She flips her chair around and straddles it, like Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.”] Sometimes I go into a room and do this.”

She continued: “You have to remember, generationally, I come to this as a confident mother of five, chairman of the [California Democratic] Party. But when I came to Congress to be sworn in, my colleagues said: “Don’t talk. Just say ‘yes’ when they say, ‘Do you solemnly swear?’ ” So after I was sworn in, the speaker said, “Does the fine lady, our newest member, wish to address the House?” Everybody said, “Don’t.” But I went to the podium, and I acknowledged my father, who had been a member of Congress, my family and constituents, and I said, “I told my constituents when I came here, I was coming to fight against H.I.V. and AIDS.” Period, end of speech. So I sit down and look over to all these people, thinking: That was short, right? They’re going: “Ugh!”

Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.

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