The congresswoman who hails from liberal San Francisco was introduced on Wednesday by Rep. John Murtha, a longtime Iraq war dissenter. Murtha was greeted with raucous applause, but, at the mention of Pelosi's name, members of the antiwar women's group Code Pink were quick to shout at her and continued to do so throughout her speech until she responded.
As Pelosi was discussing "...preserving our climate, protecting our country, growing our economy and strengthening our families as we care for our children and preserve our planet," activists from the group interjected.
"And bring our troops home now," a protester yelled from the crowd, following by several other "now"s.
"Preserving our planet is a national security issue...," Pelosi said and paused. "I always say the best preparation for combat is combat," she responded. "So just go for it, I respect your enthusiasm."
"Your impatience with the war is justified," Pelosi said, trying to ease tensions between those heckling her and those shushing the hecklers. She pointed out that the House couldn't just pass a bill because it would still have to be approved by the Senate and a president who possesses "a stubbornness that is hard to explain."
"Those are facts, those are obstacles, but they cannot be insurmountable," Pelosi said, directly acknowledging the political problems the Democrats have faced in trying to put a stop to the Iraq war since she was elected speaker in January.
There were about 25 members of Code Pink in the audience of several thousand at the conference of liberal activists. The women of all ages waved pink "lead us out of Iraq now" signs and dressed in "Pink Police" costumes.
The group started a watchdog site specifically targeting Pelosi and has camped outside her home in San Francisco to "encourage the speaker to be a leader and stop buying Bush's war."
Many antiwar advocates were disappointed last month when Democrats caved to the Bush administration and passed an Iraq spending package that didn't set a troop withdrawal timetable.
By Nikki Schwab