06/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Republic: "Nancy Pelosi, Badass"

Nancy Pelosi believes in being direct. With the Democratic presidential contest running hot, in March a reporter with Boston TV station NECN asked the House speaker about the possibility of a dream ticket uniting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Doe eyes wide, the nation's highest-ranking Democrat flashed her trademark smile ominously.

"I think that the Clinton administration [sic] has fairly ruled that out by proclaiming that Senator McCain would be a better [long pause, dismayed half- laugh] commander-in-chief than Obama. I think that ticket--either way--is impossible."

Pelosi turned to walk off, then retraced her steps and added, with another half-laugh, "I didn't want to leave you with any ambiguity."

Nope. No ambiguity here, say supporters of Team Hillary. As party elder and chairman of the upcoming Democratic convention, Pelosi maintains that she will not pick favorites in the nominating contest. But, as many of Hillary's people see it, Pelosi's repeated rejection of a "unity ticket" is just further proof that, official neutrality notwithstanding, the speaker wants Barack Obama to be the nominee--and will use her influence to make sure there is no place for Hillary on his ticket. Pelosi is "anything but uncommitted," insists one Hillary adviser, echoing colleagues.

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