Nancy Pelosi is smiling that trademark mask-like smile as she sits down for the interview. A recent California poll puts her approval rating at 34%, a big plunge from 48% in March, but the speaker barely noticed. Whenever poll numbers come up she waves her staff off, saying, “I’ll take the hit, I’ll take the hit.” Pelosi lives in a bubble, explains Vanessa Grigoriadis of New York magazine. She cares only about Democratic members, donors, her family, and the White House.
That outlook put her at odds with President Obama this summer as he pushed for a bipartisan bill. “Nancy really doesn’t care about Republicans,” says one associate. “She doesn’t believe the whole bipartisan thing exists.” Liberals, too, drive her mad with complaints that her public option isn’t strong enough. “There they are, posing for holy pictures,” she says. “Oh, they want to be sainted.” For Pelosi, all that matters is the vote count, and what she calls her “historic work." (Read more Nancy Pelosi stories.)