Rep. Israel: 'Only' Pelosi knows whether she'll stay as leader

Israel's comments came shortly ahead of a press conference in which Pelosi plans to announce her decision on whether she will stay minority leader in the next Congress. 

Other legislators said they too had no idea what Pelosi would do. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, both said on CNN that Pelosi's decision was still a secret to them.

In the same interview Israel was asked to respond to a comment by Republican strategist Karl Rove, who said that even though President Obama won reelection by a wide margin in the electoral college, he did not have a mandate. Rove said that if Obama did have a mandate Democrats would have retaken control of the House.

Israel said that Democrats did have a mandate because while they held the Senate and the White House, some of the most prominent conservatives in the House were voted out of office.

"And by the way, most of the Tea Party generals — the icons of the Tea Party, they ended up getting defeated in this election and so that's the mandate we have," Israel said.