Pelosi on Nevada Convention Tension: 'An Incident,' Fueled by 'Exuberance'

By Susan Jones | May 20, 2016 | 5:43am EDT
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders crowd the front of the room during the Nevada State Democratic Party’s 2016 State Convention at the Paris hotel-casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 14, 2016. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

( - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) used the word "exuberance" three times on Thursday when she was asked about the fracas at a meeting of the Nevada Democrat Party over the weekend.

"Welcome to the Democratic Party," Pelosi said.

"I have, as you probably know, been state party chair, chair of the California Democratic Party, the largest party in the country, very proud to say that. And the exuberance of our members is always something wonderful to behold and at some point to channel."

In Nevada on Saturday, supporters of Bernie Sanders -- furious over what they call a rigged nominating system that favors Hillary Clinton -- clashed with state party leaders, throwing chairs, shouting down speakers, even threatening Nevada's Democrat Party chairwoman.

Pelosi said she does not condone violence, but she dismissed the Nevada problem as "an incident" and a "family disagreement." She also rejected any comparison between the Nevada incident and the violence that erupted at the 1968 Democrat National Convention in Chicago.

"Again, I've seen the exuberance of Democrats; I condemn any violence that happens at any meeting for sure," Pelosi said. "One thing that I do want to reject however, too, is I saw one show, one of the early morning shows had -- hearkening back to the 1968 (convention). Pelosi said she went to that convention with her father and brother, both of them Democrat politicians from Baltimore.

"And to -- there is nothing. I mean, to even suggest, is really, I think, ridiculous. Nothing in common. We're at war in Vietnam, that fueled the unhappiness. That matter was handled in a way that was not appropriate.

"But this (the Nevada violence) was an incident. That (the 1968 convention) was a colossal coming together of people -- not coming together, a clashing of people who had a completely different view about the war and how we go forward."

A reporter asked Pelosi what's fueling the anger in the Democrat Party.

"Well, here's the way I see it, again, hearkening back to my own experience as a chairman, and one who has -- you know, for 20 years, I've served on the DNC.

"My own view of all of -- of some of this, that when you have a lot of new people who are attracted during a campaign, and that's the beauty of a campaign, an ever-widening circle of people...many of them are not familiar with what to expect.

"And we all have a responsibility to try to make sure people know what to expect. And what to expect is that there are rules that exist, for example, in Nevada. My understanding is that the chairs of the -- of the credentials committee want a Bernie person, want a Hillary person.

"But whatever was transmitted in the meeting did not allay the concerns of some, who thought the calculation of delegates was not favorable enough to Bernie.

"But there is a responsibility that we all have to make sure people know -- especially when they're coming in with such exuberance about issues they care about: their jobs, their economic security and the rest. That -- now it has to be within a structure."

Pelosi said there's nothing "surprising" about people being disappointed in the outcome of a party decision on delegates.

She also repeated her opposition to the Democrats' super-delegate system.

"I think it just makes people think, 'Well, wait a minute. We're going through an electoral process, and then you're telling there are 500 people in Washington, D.C., who are going to weigh at the end?'

Pelosi said it's not a good idea to make it look like people's votes count for less than the influence of super-delegates.

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