Pelosi: Celebrities, politicians both in 'attraction business'
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' Overnight Health Care: New wave of COVID-19 cases builds in US | Florida to lift all coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars | Trump stirs questions with 0 drug coupon plan Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Calif.) says celebrity endorsements can give candidates a boost, telling actress Olivia Wilde in an interview that both Hollywood and political figures are "all supposed to be in the attraction business."

"I would say that celebrity endorsements, whether it's Hollywood or sports or whatever it is, are valuable in that they attract to the idea that there is an election and that people should be involved," Pelosi tells the "Richard Jewell" star for a story in The Hollywood Reporter's "2019 Women in Entertainment Power 100" issue, published Wednesday.

"We're all supposed to be in the attraction business," says Pelosi. "You are, we try to be. People are attracted to celebrity. If that celebrity happens to be knowledgeable about their cause, it is very valuable because people will be attracted to the message."

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Pelosi credits entertainers who "bring knowledge on a subject" for focusing the spotlight on various causes, noting Richard Gere, who's traveled to Capitol Hill countless times to lobby lawmakers.

"I have seen such dedication, like last week, we were with Richard Gere, and of course he has devoted most of his life to Tibet, so when he comes to speak about it and to its Zen philosophy and the following of the Dalai Lama, it's so impressive and it does attract attention," Pelosi tells Wilde.

Wilde — whose mother, Leslie Cockburn, lost a House bid last year in Virginia's 5th District to now-Rep. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanVirginians wait up to four hours to cast early voting ballots Five things we learned from this year's primaries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - First lady casts Trump as fighter for the 'forgotten' MORE (R) — says she was anxiety-ridden in anticipation of a phone interview with Pelosi.

"Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking elected woman in the history of the American government. This is the fact that I keep repeating in my head as I wait on hold while her press secretary connects us for this interview. I am, suffice it to say, shitting myself," writes Wilde.

The 35-year-old "Booksmart" director mentioned her mother's congressional run to Pelosi, asking if going into 2020 the country "has a problem with powerful women."

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"I do think that some people in our country have an issue with it, but I don't think the country does," Pelosi, 79, replies.

Predicting there will be a woman elected president in the near future, Pelosi says, "By the way, I would never — nor did I ever when I ran for speaker — ask anybody to vote for me because we should have a woman speaker. That is the worst thing I could say."

"Someone running for president has to show why they would be best — if they happen to be a woman, that is an enhancement, but people just want to know what your strength is, how you believe that you could do a better job than any other person," says Pelosi.

The lawmaker also rails against some of the media for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE's political rise, saying of the press, "All they do is enable him, and that is really a sad thing."

"I've said to many of my friends in the press, 'You're accomplices, whether you want to be or not,' [and they say,] 'If he's saying it, then it's news,'" Pelosi says.

"I don't think it's news, but it monopolizes the airwaves. So there is a lot of responsibility to go around in terms of the creation of whatever that is in the White House."