A confident Pelosi looks ahead

Though polls indicate a tightening gap between Obama and McCain, especially in swing states like Colorado, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not worried.Speaking at a Politico/Denver Post/Yahoo! News breakfast panel this morning, she told the crowd that Obama’s strength lies with many voters who are not within the ranks of those previous “likely voters” polled, including younger voters and those who have never voted before.

Pelosi is confident that economic issues will move an election victory in Obama’s direction.

“For eight years, the wealthiest one percent have had the leverage.Our democracy depends on a strong middle class.”An Obama administration would transfer that leverage to the middle class, Pelosi said.

“This election is about the economy.It always is.”

She had strong words for John McCain, who she said “cannot identify with working Americans.

“I don’t think people care how many houses John McCain has; I think they care that he doesn’t know how many houses he has.”

Though there are wealthy Democrats as well, Pelosi acknowledged, and Democrats “salute wealth and economic growth,” it is McCain’s inability to recognize the disconnect created by his comment that is “emblematic” of what divides Democrats from Republicans.

And don’t count on her to accord any value to the length of McCain’s political career:

“If you want to talk about John McCain’s experience, he has the experience of being wrong — on the war in Iraq, on children’s health, on energy independence, on tax cuts — you name it.”

What, specifically, would happen in the first hundred days of an Obama presidency, according to Pelosi?She quickly named three top priorities, all “unfinished business,” which she said would comprise the “first 100 hours”:providing health insurance for 10 million children, passing a stem cell research bill, and enacting legislation for tax credits to further the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Engendering bipartisan support will be essential, Pelosi said, and attainable through an Obama emphasis on “civility and reaching out to Republicans” in the early days of a new Congress.

“We’ll see transparency and integrity in government…as the context” with an Obama administration, said Pelosi.

Other priorities on the domestic agenda can be summed up in four words, she said:”Science, science, science and science.”

Science – and the education necessary to support it – are foundational to a host of domestic goals Pelosi laid out, including the creation of high-paying new jobs through innovative technologies, building the “green economy,” rebuilding and improving the U.S. infrastructure, creating energy independence, and investing in biomedical research to make the best health care accessible to all Americans.Science, she said, is integral to protecting national security, economic well-being, environmental health, and a moral obligation to “preserve God’s creation.”

Pelosi’s agenda is an ambitious one, and Obama is essential to it: she noted the impossibility of passing certain key legislation in the face of actual or threatened Bush vetoes

“We have to have a Democratic president — nothing less is at stake than our economy, our Constitution, our budget, our reputation in the world, ending this war — the list goes on.”