The rise and fall of Nancy Pelosi

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” Pelosi famously told POLITICO during an interview in July 2008, revealing an almost messianic belief in her own mission. “And when you win the election, you win the majority, and what is the power of the speaker? To set the agenda, the power of recognition, and I am not giving the gavel away to anyone.”…

In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s Democratic wipeout, the 70-year-old Pelosi insisted that she’d hold onto her gavel. But behind-the-scenes, Pelosi knew her time was running out. In a recent leadership conference call, she even joked that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and other Democrats “would be calling her” soon for campaign donations, according to sources.

Those closest to Pelosi expect her to throw her support to Hoyer, a one-time bitter rival, to become Democratic leader once she announces her decision to step aside, squaring the circle on their legendary leadership fight from nearly a decade ago…

“I think it’s going to take us a while to get beyond this,” said a House Democrat close to Pelosi. “10 years, maybe 20 years. I don’t know if we’ll get back the majority while I’m here.”