Pelosi on the prowl

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) headed to Houston this past weekend, sending ahead of her arrival a hard-hitting op-ed in the local paper on GOP power grabs aimed at House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas.) The Pelosi column ran July 16 and was headlined “Republicans damaging our democracy — Pattern of abuse of power in House.”

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) headed to Houston this past weekend, sending ahead of her arrival a hard-hitting op-ed in the local paper on GOP power grabs aimed at House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas.)

The Pelosi column ran July 16 and was headlined “Republicans damaging our democracy — Pattern of abuse of power in House.”

The op-ed was a strategic placement in the Houston Chronicle, the hometown paper of DeLay, who comes from Sugarland, a Houston suburb.

Pelosi mentioned DeLay by name once, for his threatening language that came in the Terri Schiavo case when he blasted judges who refused to sign orders to keep her alive. He said then, “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”

Democrats have been trying to make DeLay’s various ethics woes into a national issue, but Pelosi did not mention any specific controversy in her piece.  She spent much of the op-ed on how the GOP’s “silencing of opposition voices, rather than being an isolated event, is part of the ongoing pattern of Republican abuse of power.”

Pelosi raised Texas money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, to benefit Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas) and former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), who is trying to oust DeLay in 2006.

In Dallas, Pelosi attended the 88th birthday party of insurance magnate Bernard Rapoport, one of the Democratic Party’s major donors.

Pelosi, raised in Baltimore and transplanted to San Francisco, has her own Texas connections. One of her daughters, Jacqueline Kenneally, lives in Houston with her husband and three sons.  Last Sunday in Houston, Pelosi, who is Catholic, attended services with her family at one of the largest evangelical churches in the nation, Lakewood Church, on a day that featured the official debut of a new 16,000-seat mega-sanctuary. Pelosi was introduced by the pastor.

Pelosi’s youngest daughter, newlywed Alexandra (Pelosi did mother-of-the-bride duties in New York a few weeks ago) was in Houston touting her new book, Sneaking Into the Flying Circus: How the Media Turn Our Presidential Campaigns into Freak Shows. Pelosi also hosted a book party for her filmmaker/author daughter.

Dem leaders to AFL-CIO. Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Dem Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Senate Dems urge Esper to oppose shifting Pentagon money to border wall Trump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer MORE (D-Ill.) and others head to Chicago on Monday for the big AFL-CIO convention, where dissident labor leaders led by Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union may split off into their own group. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) will appear via videophone.

Pelosi has no horse in this race. “I have respect for all sides in the debate that is going on, and I have worked with all of them,” she said, referring to the potential split.

While in Chicago for the AFL-CIO, Durbin and Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Climate 'religion' is fueling Australia's wildfires Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him MORE (D-Ill.), who will also address the union members, will have Reid keynote a funder Sunday for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Hastert to China. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) travels to China, Japan and possibly other Asian nations July 29 in a trip that will be focused on trade and monetary-policy issues.

His trip comes as a government-run Chinese oil company is making a bid to buy Unocal Corp, a U.S. oil giant.

Sweet is the Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. E-mail: lsweet3022@aol.com