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Nancy Pelosi: Climate change summit is really about jobs

December 17, 2009 |  9:37 am

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a savvy politician whose vote-counting prowess will be tested in the off-year elections fueled by voter anger, said recently that as the calendar turns to 2010, she was in campaign mode and would focus almost exclusively on the issue of most concern to voters: jobs.

So it was not too much of a surprise this morning when the San Francisco Democrat, joined by 20 other members of Congress, arrived in Copenhagen for a climate change summit announcing that the visit is really meant to create jobs.

"We see Copenhagen as a meeting about job creation," she said. "How do we move forward to create millions of clean energy jobs and new technologies to keep America No. 1?" 

The line was reminiscent of Secretary of State James A. Baker's comment when promoting the first President Bush's decision to launch the first Gulf War to boot Iraq out of Kuwait. Baker, a former Treasury secretary, said the invasion of Iraq would create "jobs, jobs, jobs."

In keeping with her pledge to focus on jobs, Pelosi also signaled to the White House that President Obama is on his own when it comes to funding for the troop surge in Afghanistan. "The president's going to have to make his case," she said, making clear that she is done asking colleagues to back wars they do not support.

"What I've told the members is to give the president room, to listen to what he has to say, that we will provide the briefings and they will have the information," she told reporters at a briefing wrapping up the legislative session. "But I can't -- this, for members, is a vote of conscience. War votes are votes of conscience."  

-- Johanna Neuman  

Photo credit: Associated Press

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