POLITICS
01/12/2012 03:32 pm ET

Nancy Pelosi Defends Barney Frank, Discusses Her Feelings Toward Anthony Weiner

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reflected on retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and the lewd online activity that eventually led to Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) resignation in a profile for The Advocate.

"Nothing surprises me. One thing I don't ever have in my world is surprise," Pelosi said to the magazine. On the New York City congressman, she said, "I'm really overcome by personal sadness and disappointment for him. But frankly, he has to deal with all of that." When pressed by her daughter, Alexandra, on whether she believed anything like that could happen, she said, "I didn't think so. I can't answer for personal behavior. You just don't know."

Pelosi and other top Democrats called on Weiner to resign last June after his lewd interactions on Twitter and Facebook became a national controversy. "Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help," she said. "I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress." He resigned five days later.

Pelosi also railed against criticism of retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) from gay Republicans. "Oh, but what about them?" she told the LGBT-interest magazine. "He chooses a party that supports his values. They've chosen a party that supports their income -- a party that denigrates them and treats them with disrespect."

The gay conservative group GOProud targeted him in his 2010 re-election bid, running a television ad calling Frank "catty" and likening him, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Pelosi to the "Real Housewives" reality TV shows. Frank won re-election by 11 points.

Alexandra Pelosi told Big Government in December that her mother, aged 71, longs for retirement. "She would retire right now, if the donors she has didn't want her to stay so badly. They know she wants to leave, though." she said. Pelosi's spokesman said the sentiment wasn't true.

Pelosi said recently that President Barack Obama should "run against this do-nothing Congress" in his re-election campaign. When pressed on whether that meant that Obama would be running in effect partly against her, she said she had "no problem" with Obama running against Congress as a whole.

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