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Daily Beast: Politicians to Watch in 2011

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat

The rise of young Republicans like Noem and Scott was supposed to signal the fall of Nancy Pelosi. As soon as Election Night, the whispering began that the once powerful speaker would sneak out of Washington by Christmas, leaving chastened Democrats to fend for themselves. “People are very, very concerned that she won’t gracefully step aside,” one House insider told The Daily Beast. Well, those people had good reason to be concerned. Pelosi is not stepping aside. She’s even staying in the leadership. Now we’ll get to see how she fares without the speaker’s gavel, whether she’ll hold a Boehner-esque hard line against the GOP or show some talent for getting Democrats to the table.

(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)

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