By Mike Lillis - 11/12/12 08:55 PM EST
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi won't reveal her plans for the future before meeting with the Democrats in her caucus on Wednesday, she emphasized over the weekend.
The California liberal has dropped no hints about her future in the leadership, stirring waves of speculation she might step down after a decade atop the party — the longest run since the legendary Rep. Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) died in office in 1961.
"When I see my caucus, I will discuss it with them in the beginning of this week rather than discuss it with rumor in Washington,” Pelosi told reporters in her San Francisco district. “I will make that announcement to my caucus.
"I know that we’re best friends and all," she joked with the reporters, "but I think that I will share that with them first.”
Pelosi and the Democrats picked up at least seven House seats in last week's elections (several races have yet to be called), but fell far short of the 25 seats they needed to win back the lower chamber. The failure of the Democrats' "drive to 25" has fueled talk that the 72-year-old Pelosi — a grandmother eight-times over — might step down to focus on her family.
Still, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has struggled to unite his troops over the last two years, leaving Pelosi with power that's unusual for a minority leader in the House, where just a simple majority is required to pass legislation. With the fierce debate over the fiscal cliff and deficit grand bargain just getting started in the lame duck, some political observers think the feisty Pelosi will find it irresistible to stick around in order to be a part of those high-stakes fights.
Few doubt that Pelosi could retain her leadership spot if she wants to.
"If she wants to be minority leader, she will have that job as long as she wants it," Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) told MSNBC on Monday. "She's been a tireless worker for the party."
Meanwhile, a number of Democrats below Pelosi — including Reps. Steny Hoyer (Md.) and James Clyburn (S.C.) — are jockeying to fill the leadership void that would be created if she does cede power.
Yarmuth, for one, sees that process running smoothly.
"If she decides to step down, I think actually the leadership pieces will fall into place pretty quickly without contention in the Democratic Caucus," he said Monday.
This post has been updated.