Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told then-President Barack Obama that Democrats suffered humiliating losses in the 2010 midterm elections because white men “get in a mood” when unemployed, according to a new documentary by Pelosi’s own daughter.

“Hey, Mr. President, not a good night,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) consoled Obama during an Election Night phone call as the extent of the party’s defeat became apparent, Fox News reported.

Democrats lost a net of 63 House seats, the party’s biggest midterm defeat in more than seven decades and a result attributed to backlash at the passage of ObamaCare earlier that year.

Pelosi had a different take, according to her end of the conversation, which is shown in the current HBO documentary, “Pelosi in the House.”

“Our members have said they don’t regret their health care bill right across the board,” the speaker told Obama. “Even if we never passed health care reform, we were still going to lose this election because of 9.5% unemployment. ‘Cause it wasn’t about that, it was about jobs.”

Nancy Pelosi pictured with President Barack Obama in Sept. 2010.
After the 2010 loss, Nancy Pelosi told then-President Obama that it was “not a good night.”
AFP via Getty Images

“The white male thing is just — that’s a dominant thing,” Pelosi added. “When they don’t have a job, they get in a mood. And, um, so we’ll have to make some decisions in our caucus about how we go forward.”

The Democratic defeat in 2010 marked the end of Pelosi’s first tenure as House speaker. She returned to the position in 2019, after Democrats regained the chamber the previous year.

Pelosi, now 82, announced last month that she would not put herself forward to lead Democrats in the new Congress after 20 years at the head of the party. She will be succeeded as House Minority Leader by Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

“Pelosi in the House” is produced and directed by documentarian Alexandra Pelosi, Nancy’s youngest daughter.


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