Obama praises Pelosi: 'One of the most effective legislative leaders' in history

Former President Obama is praising House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as she seeks to regain the gavel as the next Speaker of the House despite opposition from a group of Democratic insurgents.

"I think Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiFreedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill Black Caucus huddles as talk of term limits heats up Insurgent Dems amplify push for term limits on party leaders MORE, when the history is written, will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders that this country's ever seen," Obama told "The Axe Files" podcast, which is produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

The support from Obama comes as Pelosi looks to secure the 218 votes needed to be Speaker when Democrats take control in the next Congress.

A group of 16 Democratic rebels on Monday released a letter vowing to vote against Pelosi on the House floor and other Democrats have also been reluctant to offer their support.

The small group though could pose a difficult challenge for Pelosi on the House floor, where she must win the support of a majority of the entire chamber.

But Obama offered high praise for Pelosi, comments that could boost her among the Democratic caucus.

"Nancy is not always the best on a cable show or with a quick sound bite or what have you," Obama said Tuesday. "But her skill, tenacity, toughness, vision, is remarkable."

"Her stamina, her ability to see around corners, her ability to stand her ground and do hard things and to suffer unpopularity to get the right thing done, I think, stands up against any person that I've observed or worked directly with in Washington during my lifetime," he added.

The former president also said Pelosi was instrumental in helping him achieve his agenda.

He called Pelosi's mastery of the "nuts and bolts" of governing more important than "performance art" and he cited "the blocking and tackling involved in actually getting things across the finish line."

"My experience has been that Nancy Pelosi knows how to do that, and she was an extraordinary partner for me throughout my presidency," Obama said.

Pelosi has expressed confidence in her ability to take the Speakership and on Monday night won the support of Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a freshman who is already one of the party's most prominent progressive voices.

Updated at 4:28 p.m.