(WASHINGTON) — Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had kind words for former Republican President George W. Bush on Wednesday, calling him “really a lovely man” even though “we disagreed in policy.”
Pelosi, who served as the Democratic House majority leader during Bush’s last two years in office, said during a Wednesday interview celebrating her 25 years in Congress that she and Democrats “worked with President Bush on many issues,” reported the Daily Caller.
She cited the 2008 economic stimulus package, funding for international AIDS relief and the 2008 bank bailout — the Troubled Asset Relief Program — which she said was “probably the most unpopular bill that anybody will ever vote for ever.”
Pelosi has often called out Bush’s years in office as a time when the partisan battles that currently dominate Capitol Hill were less divisive. During last year’s fight over extending the payroll tax cut, Pelosi urged Congress to channel those more bipartisan days of the Bush years.
“It’s time for us to sit down and do this in a bipartisan way as we did when President Bush was president,” she said in December.
While Republicans and Democrats reached a virtual impasse on how to pay for the cuts, Pelosi chided Republicans for refusing to sit down at the negotiating table “as we did when Democrats were in the majority and President Bush was in the White House.
“We sat down, went through this, recognized the power of his signature, recognized the leverage of our majority but worked together,” she said, comparing the cross-party negotiations that went on while trying to pass the 2008 stimulus package with the battle being waged over the 2011 payroll tax cut.
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Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN