On the eve of Nancy Pelosi's election to speaker, associates of the first woman ever to get that post and incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are working overtime to mute stories that the two are political enemies. Still, nobody's saying that the two are cozy.
"They have a very productive relationship," says a Pelosi associate.
"We are working well with Nancy and her staff," offers a Hoyer ally.
The effort to portray a calm and professional working relationship is a bid to finally close the post-election divide among Democrats over Hoyer's election to majority leader over Pelosi's choice, Rep. John Murtha. A Hoyer associate said that the Maryland representative feels no bitterness about Pelosi's efforts and understands why she backed the Pennsylvania antiwar lawmaker. A Pelosi insider said that the new speaker felt that Murtha deserved a shot at the post since it was his vocal opposition to the war that turned around Democratic chances last year and set the party up for an election victory.
"She felt that we wouldn't have won without his opposition," added the Pelosi associate who also called reports that the two have feuded since they were House interns "B.S."
By Paul Bedard