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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Plays Not My Job
In January 2007, Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California was sworn in as the speaker of the House of Representatives — and became the first woman to hold that position. She is currently the House minority leader.
We've invited Pelosi to play a game about men breaking gender barriers — three questions about men who've gone where no man has gone before.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now, the game where we ask very important people about very unimportant things. In January 2007, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California was sworn in as the Speaker of the House, the first woman to hold that position in the history of our nation. She is currently the House Minority Leader. We are delighted to have her with us. Nancy Pelosi, welcome to WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME.
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI: Thank you, Peter. Hi, everyone. It's great to be with you.
LUKE BURBANK: We met once, but I don't expect you to remember it, because I was panhandling.
BURBANK: Let's not get bogged down.
SAGAL: Let's clarify something right off the bat. How are we to address you? What is the protocol? Speaker Pelosi, in honor of your former position? Leader Pelosi, in honor of your current one?
PELOSI: Because we're all such good friends here, just say Nancy.
SAGAL: Just say Nancy. Nancy.
SAGAL: It sounds good, though, Nancy. So we're delighted to have you with us. We found out, and it should be obvious, given your success in politics, that you grew up in a very political family. You were raised in the business.
SAGAL: Your father was the mayor of Baltimore.
PELOSI: Yes, he was.
SAGAL: Right. So what was it like growing up in a political household?
PELOSI: Well, it was like campaigning, forever campaigns, all the time. There was never a time when we weren't walking precincts or receiving volunteers at the door to pick up their brochures, their buttons, their bumper stickers, their placards that would be called lawn signs these days. And I learned how to count votes.
SAGAL: Did you really? So, like, other kids were counting blocks, you were like going "one vote, two votes."
SAGAL: When you were a baby, were you kissing babies?
SAGAL: We were reading about your father's career and your involvement with him, and we read that one of the jobs that you had working with your father was that you kept his favor file. Is that correct?
PELOSI: No, I didn't keep it but I worked on it. That is, to say...
SAGAL: What is it exactly?
PELOSI: What it is, is that if somebody - for example, if someone came to the door and said they needed help in some way, if they needed help finding a job or something like that. The idea was, of the favor file was that when that person was on his or her feet then they would extend a helping hand to somebody else. In other words, they passed it on.
PELOSI: So where would you go to look for help for somebody else is someone that you had helped already.
SAGAL: Right. Or if you needed to have someone killed...
PELOSI: Again, it was a very...
SAGAL: ...call upon this person.
PELOSI: Do I detect an ethnic slur there?
SAGAL: No, no.
SAGAL: I wasn't at all thinking about that scene from "The Godfather." I really wasn't.
CHARLIE PIERCE: Leader Pelosi, we have no idea who this guy is doing the interview.
SAGAL: So, eventually you got married, you moved with your husband to San Francisco and you got involved with politics there. You ran for office yourself. You know, when you went into politics, you did it with a splash.
Of course, you rose through the ranks of the Democratic Party in the House, and you became the Speaker of the House. You're our first Speaker of the House we've ever had on the show. We have a lot of questions about that. Primarily, what is it like to sit behind the president during the State of the Union address?
SAGAL: Is it hard to maintain a straight face?
PELOSI: Well, I'm glad you're getting down to the truly important here...
PELOSI: ...Speaker of the House.
SAGAL: No, really, I mean it must - because you know, like the nation is looking at the president and you are looming there over his shoulder. You could wreak havoc with the address if you wanted to, by making faces. Do you have to think about, like...
PELOSI: Well, one could.
PELOSI: Well, here's the thing...
PELOSI: ...the Speaker of the House has awesome power. And so when the joint session is called and the president of the United States is welcomed in a joint session, House and Senate, it is the Speaker of the House who introduces the president. Not that that's the power part, but it's a manifestation...
SAGAL: That is power. You could keep him waiting. You could be standing, and he could be waiting outside. And you could be like, "So guys, what's up?"
SAGAL: See the game last night?
PELOSI: Well, no, but, you know, but you would want to be respectful now wouldn't you? I mean, under other circumstances you would want to be respectful...
SAGAL: I want to ask a little bit about the job. Do you ever talk to the current Speaker, John Boehner? Does he ever call you up and go "I don't know how I'm going to get this done; these guys are being so obstreperous. What do I do, Nancy?" Does that ever happen?
SAGAL: Really, you don't...
SAGAL: He doesn't invite you over, back to your old office just for a get together, have a good cry, you and him and talk about problems.
SAGAL: No, really, I mean...
PELOSI: Girls don't cry.
SAGAL: No. Well done.
FAITH SALIE: Nancy, I can't believe I just called you that. Thank you.
PELOSI: Thank you, Faith. I'll call you Faith; you call me Nancy.
SALIE: That's a deal. I earnestly want to ask you about an issue that's dear to my heart and I understand it's dear to yours, which is chocolate.
PELOSI: Oh, yes.
SAGAL: We've read this too that this is your great vice, if you will, you're big into chocolate.
PELOSI: I don't consider it a vice. I consider it...
SALIE: A blessing from God.
SAGAL: You consider it...
PELOSI: Very dark chocolate, very dark chocolate.
SAGAL: Very dark. So tell us what you can. Tell us what you're willing to admit of your chocolate consumption.
BURBANK: Let's get down to brass tacks. How many pounds of chocolate have you eaten today?
BURBANK: I'll take that as 20.
SAGAL: Well, Nancy, Madam Speaker, we have invited you here to play a game we're calling?
CARL KASELL: I'm a hero to my sex.
SAGAL: You made history as the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. But we felt that women have been hogging the spotlight for too long.
SAGAL: So we wanted to highlight some masculine pioneers. Answer three questions about men who dared to go where no man had gone before, and you'll win our prize for one of our listeners, Carl's voice on their voicemail system. Carl, who is Speaker Pelosi playing for?
KASELL: Nancy is playing for Tom and Libby Deichsel of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
SAGAL: All right, are you ready to play?
SAGAL: All right, here's your first question. One organization has been the target of repeated legal action by men who want the right to do what? A: be surrogate mothers? B: be a waitress at Hooters? Or C: be Playboy Playmate of the Month?
PELOSI: Waitress at Hooters.
SAGAL: You're right, that's what it was.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Hooters have been sued a number of times by men who claim it's sexist that the company will not hire them to put on skimpy shorts and very tight t-shirts, tied under the bosom and serve...
PELOSI: Oh please, that's enough. That's enough.
SAGAL: Well, you're offended. You're allowed to do it, we are not.
PIERCE: I don't know if you noticed, Peter, but the big hammer just came down.
SAGAL: It sure did.
SAGAL: All right, that's good. That was very good. Here is your second question. Brad Pitt, movie star, recently struck a blow for male equality when he became the first man ever to star in a Chanel #5 TV ad. Usually it's a female movie star.
In the ad, he says which of these immortal lines? I'm going to quote Brad Pitt. Is it A: I am like a cave dwelling fish; I have no eyes, merely a nose, open to experiencing, you?
SAGAL: Or is it B: The world turns, and we turn with it. Plans disappear, dreams take over, but wherever I go, there you are? Or is it C: If you wear Chanel #5, a handsome movie star like me might find you attractive. Otherwise, no dice?
PELOSI: Well I'm sure it's not number three.
PELOSI: I only hope it's not number one, so I have to go with number two.
SAGAL: You are correct, that is...
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: ...the particular quote from Mr. Pitt. I have no idea what he means but it apparently has something to do with perfume. All right, last question. Just recently, 24-year-old Rob Wilson broke the glass ceiling or floor, as the case may be, when he became the first man ever to do what? A: Watch The Oprah Network.
SAGAL: B: Be a demonstration model on "The Price is Right"? Or C: Date Donald Trump?
PELOSI: Oh gosh. I think it's number two.
SAGAL: You are correct, in fact.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Auditioned, won an online poll and he became the first male model to appear demonstrating all the nice prizes on "The Price is Right." Carl, how did Minority Leader Pelosi do?
KASELL: Nancy, you had three correct answers, so you win for Tom and Libby Deichsel. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Well done, another victory.
SAGAL: I hope this triumph ranks right up there with the Affordable Care Act in terms of your personal resume.
PELOSI: Well, I'm happy - Tom and Libby, I hope to meet you sometime. I hope that those were the answers that you would have chosen as well.
BURBANK: I do, too because they would have lost otherwise.
SAGAL: Ms. Nancy Pelosi is the former Speaker of the House, currently the Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Pelosi, thank you so much for being with us. What a pleasure to speak to you and good luck.
PELOSI: Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Carl, Charlie, Faith and Luke and all of you. It was great fun to be with you.
SALIE: Thank you.
SAGAL: Thank you so much.
PIERCE: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.