The top Democrat in the U.S. House spoke this morning with Iowa Democrats at their party’s national convention in Denver, spending only a few seconds addressing the plight of spring-time storm victims in the state.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke for about 11 minutes, beginning by pointing out Iowa’s three Democratic Congressmen — Leonard Boswell, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack. They were seated near the front of the room.
"I want you all to know, and I’m sure you do know, but from our perspective, how hard they are working to help get the disaster assistance that Iowa so sorely needs," Pelosi said.
The crowd applauded. Pelosi added the three were working with Iowa’s governor, who she initially — mistakenly — identified as "Chet Edwards." There is a Chet Edwards — he’s a member of congress who Pelosi often mentioned as a good candidate for vice president.
Pelosi continued, recognizing Boswell in particular. "Thank you, Leonard, for your great leadership." Pelosi then talked about the Iowa Caucuses, this convention in Denver and issues like health care for children. Pelosi wrapped up with a thank you, the crowd applauded, she stepped away from the microphone, and then doubled back.
"Oh, and did I tell you that at the invitation of the delegation and your governor I’ll be visiting Iowa on September 8 to see firsthand what the challenges are so that I can follow their lead in doing what we have to do to meet our responsibility to the people of Iowa?" Pelosi asked. Then, the three congressman surrounded Pelosi to talk about the trip. The discussion lasted about a minute.
Peggy Whitworth of Cedar Rapids then approached Pelosi. "We need to have her see what has happened to our community and I know it’s hit all over the state, but Cedar Rapids really took it on the chin — business, government, the cultural community — (have) all been devastated," Whitworth says. "We need to have the federal help. This is something that only the federal government can do."
A few moments later, Congressman Braley told Iowa repoters there is plenty of federal disaster aid available today, but Braley accuses the Bush Administration of red tape and foot dragging in getting that help to Iowans. Click on the audio link below to listen to Pelosi. Read more about it over on the blog.