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 Reid2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Panel: How Biden's gaffes could cost him against Trump MORE (D-Nev.), Senate Dem Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks 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 ObamaForget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Obama shares summer reading list 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