Pelosi, dominant figure for the ages, leaves lasting imprint

WASHINGTON (AP) — There are two searing scenes of Nancy Pelosi confronting the violent extremism that spilled into the open late in her storied political career. In one, she’s uncharacteristically shaken in a TV interview as she recounts the brutal attack on her husband.

In the other, the House speaker rips open a package of beef jerky with her teeth during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, while on the phone with Mike Pence, firmly instructing the Republican vice president how to stay safe from the mob that came for them both. “Don’t let anybody know where you are,” she said.

That Pelosi, composed and in command at a time of chaos, tart but parochial-school proper at every turn, is the one whom lawmakers have obeyed, tangled with, respected and feared for two decades.

She is the most powerful woman in American politics and one of the nation’s most consequential legislative leaders — through times of war, financial turmoil, a pandemic and an assault on democracy.


Polarizing and combative, Pelosi nevertheless forged compromises with Republicans on historic legislation.

Across the policy spectrum, whether you liked the results or not, she delivered votes that touched ordinary lives in many ways. Among them: how millions get health care, the state of the roads, the lightened burden of student debt, the minimum wage, progress on climate change that took over a decade to bear fruit.