Rep. Jackie Speier comes out swinging

The newest member of Congress is booed for speaking out on Iraq.


Katharine Mieszkowski
April 11, 2008 1:40AM (UTC)

Thursday, the day Rep. Jackie Speier, 57, was sworn into Congress, she wasted no time in pissing off Republicans, by blasting President Bush and Sen. John McCain in a speech about the war in Iraq.

"The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately," Speier, a Democrat from Hillsbourgh, Calif., told members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "The president wants to stay the course and a man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for 100 years. But Madam Speaker, history will not judge us kindly if we sacrifice four generations of Americans because of the folly of one."

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While Democrats applauded, some Republicans booed, and a few walked out in protest, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Speier's 13-year-old daughter, who was watching from the House Gallery, asked, "Why are they booing my mom?"

After the speech, Speier seemed to take its mixed reception in stride, noting that she'd held more than 60 public meetings in recent weeks, and the most common question was: "When will we get out of Iraq?" Speier won a special election Tuesday to fill the seat of the late Rep. Tom Lantos, but she has served in California for years as a county supervisor, state assemblywoman and state senator. Back in the '70s, Speier worked in Congress as legal counsel to former Rep. Leo Ryan. Ryan was gunned down at the Guyana airport in 1978 by followers of cult leader Rev. Jim Jones. Shot five times in that same attack, Speier suffered critical injuries, and waited 22 hours for help to arrive.

For those of us who are keeping track, there are now 71 women serving in the House of Representatives, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. With Speier on board, women now make up 16.3 percent of the total number of representatives.

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Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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