By Mike Lillis - 05/10/12 05:51 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday that she doesn't have her eyes on the Speaker's gavel as Democrats battle to retake the House.
The California Democrat said she's focusing all her energies on returning the Democrats to the House majority, not what happens afterwards.
"Let me just be clear: I've never pushed to become Speaker," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "I push for the Democrats to win.
"Whatever happens after that is incidental," she added. "What's important is for the Democrats to have the majority."
Pelosi, who wielded the Speaker's gavel when the Democrats controlled the House from 2007 to 2011, has not said what she'll do after the elections. A surge by the Democrats in November would make a strong case for returning her the gavel, while a lackluster performance could renew calls from within the party for her to step aside.
Pelosi's daughter, Alexandra, churned headlines in December when she suggested her mother's days on Capitol Hill are numbered.
"She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn't want her to stay so badly," Alexandra Pelosi said, according to the conservative blog Big Government. "She has very few days left. She's 71, she wants to have a life."
Pelosi's office was quick to dispute those claims, but Washington prognosticators have long-wondered when Pelosi and her top deputies, Reps. Steny Hoyer (Md.) and James Clyburn (S.C.) — all of whom are in their 70s — will cede power to a younger generation of Democrats.