Seizing the pulpit

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is in the midst of a strategic message campaign to showcase the House accomplishments as the Bush administration is waging its own battle against Congress.

Look no further than Wednesday, when President Bush devoted the top of his press conference to heaping all sorts of blame on Congress. Pelosi shot back, “There is no better example of why Washington is not working for the American people than the president claiming to seek common ground at the same time he is bitterly attacking Congress.”

Pelosi has been beefing up her media profile in the past weeks and adding regular press conferences to her schedule. A few days ago in New York, Pelosi sat down with Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, for a grilling about the House Democratic plans to end the Iraq war.

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Huffington asked Pelosi if she was too “well-behaved” to get the U.S. out of Iraq.

“I don’t think the president has thought that I have been a lady in terms of what I have said about him and this war,” said Pelosi.

Here’s an exclusive recap of highlights of Pelosi’s media hits in September and October, which put together paint a fuller picture of Pelosi’s drive to seize the message pulpit.

Brief Remarks — AFL-CIO/ARA press event on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Sept. 6.
New York — press events with Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sept. 10.
Sixth anniversary of Sept. 11 commemorative events, Sept. 10-11.

Taped interview with Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America,” Sept. 11 (aired Sept. 12).

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Phone interviews with David Sarasohn of the Portland Oregonian and Jeff Barnard of The Associated Press (AP) ahead of Portland trip, Sept. 11

In Portland, Ore., on Sept. 12, headlined an Environmental Roundtable and Press Conference with Reps. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerTrump threatens to double down on Portland in other major cities Federal agents deployed to Portland did not have training in riot control: NYT US attorney calls for investigation into unmarked federal agents arresting protesters in Oregon MORE (D) and Darlene Hooley (D). The next day, in San Francisco, an SCHIP press conference with the United Way.

Up to Boston for a Sept. 14 session with the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Back in Washington on Sept. 19, the Young Americans’ Progress Report event at Howard University, followed by the now-institutionalized weekly press conference on Sept. 20.

An SCHIP House leadership event with groups/families on Sept. 25 as well as a sit-down interview with Wolf Blitzer for CNN’s “Situation Room.” Another weekly press conference on Sept. 26, then a jet ride to McAllen, Texas, to keynote an event at the sixth annual Hispanic, Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) meeting.

Pelosi hit Fairless, Pa., Oct. 1 for an energy summit, then swung up to New York to speak at a National Breast Cancer Coalition Gala. The next day she taped an episode of “The View.” Another presser, then a keynote for the AP managing editors meeting on Oct. 4, followed by a one-on-one with Chris Wallace for “Fox News Sunday” on Oct. 5 to air that weekend. Pelosi met scribes at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Oct. 9, then did a radio interview with Ed Schultz. On Oct. 11 she sat down with CQ and the next day sparred with George Stephanopoulos for ABC’s “This Week,” which aired last Sunday, capped by the Huffington and CNBC Power Lunch interviews on Oct. 15.

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