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Report From Yesterday’s “Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch” in SF

Yesterday, I had the unique opportunity, thanks to Emerge America, to sit with a group of a few hundred women at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and celebrate Nancy Pelosi’s 20 years of service in the U.S. Congress and her election as Speaker of the House. They called it the “Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch”. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was fun to catch-up with friends and although I’d met Speaker Pelosi before, it had been a few years. They showed a wonderful tribute to her service, including when she invited her grandchildren and other children in the House on the day of her swearing-in up to the podium with her. I have to admit that image brought tears to my eyes.

Nita Whitaker sang the most spectacular version of “God Bless America” I’ve ever heard. I felt like the ballroom was about 10 square feet with her voice able to carry several football fields in distance. In a past life, I sang in musicals, choirs, ensembles and the like, so I’ve studied voice and I’m particularly critical of female vocalists, but she blew me away. I was breathless.

Anyway, back to politics. So the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), through yesterday’s lunch raised $1.2 Million for their Women LEAD program. The speakers included Congresswoman Allison Schwartz, Chairwoman of Women LEAD, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (our gal from Silicon Valley), and of course Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, who received a well-deserved standing ovation when she came up to speak.

There was a lot of talk about “breaking the marble ceiling” and Speaker Pelosi detailed the long history of how we’ve been chipping away at that ceiling for 200 years. Then she spoke about her goals as Speaker of the House and how she’s started to “drain the swamp that is Washington, D.C.” She spoke about how we need to rely on scientific data for making progress on the environment and other issues, and that science and faith “both reflect truth” and in essence can work together.

Be prepared for when Congress returns to Washington – Nancy Pelosi says getting us out of Iraq is 1st priority and she wants it completed by April 1st, 2008. She said we’re spending $10 Billion a month there. I couldn’t believe that figure. Imagine all we could do with that money… and she said that generals who are leaving the military are advising her to withdraw now. I’ve been taking a back seat on the Iraq issue because I really don’t know much about the state of the Middle East and I figure people who do need to make those decisions. But when she said the generals say we should leave, that got my attention. And she also said that the strategy they are advising does not mean we won’t have troops in Iraq to deal with terrorist cells – that’s something different entirely.