Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi held a photo opportunity with Congressman John Dingell, Congressman John Conyers, Congressman Sandy Levin, and Congressman Hansen Clarke to receive the spoils of a friendly wager on the outcome of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers. Along with bragging rights, Leader Pelosi received the following items in honor of the Giants win:
- From Congressman Dingell, a gift basket from Zingerman’s Deli;
- From Congressman Conyers, the “Motown Basket,” filled with Detroit-made items like Faygo Pop and Better Made Chips;
- From Congressman Levin, chocolate from Sanders Fudge, Gayle’s Chocolate, and Morley Candy, along with Garden Fresh Gourmet salsa and iconic Vernors; and
- From Congressman Clarke, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island dogs
Leader Pelosi. I know that you are all intensely interested in the outcome of the World Series and what we’re engaged in here might be termed, in some circles, a lighter moment on Capitol Hill. Now, our inclination is to smile for the camera but my colleagues do not necessarily share that view. What an honor, and I must say a pleasure, it is to welcome my colleagues to this coming together. We’re very honored to have the distinguished Dean of the whole Congress, of the whole House of Representatives, Chairman Dingell. Mr. Dingell, would you like to tell us what your – what my winnings are?
Mr. Dingell. Well, I congratulate you Madam Leader. And I do look forward to – to call you Madam Speaker. You have made a very astute choice in your selection of people to back. I note that you have some rather excellent products from Michigan. We make a lot of wonderful things in Michigan – best cars in the world.
Leader Pelosi. I thought I was getting one by winning the bet, maybe a car part!
Mr. Dingell. We were going to bring you a car but it could not fit in the –
Leader Pelosi. Oh, okay. But for that!
Mr. Dingell. We will try, however, if we lose again, to get another friendly price. The best automobiles made in the world are made in Michigan. As I said, along with my two good friends, Mr. Levin, Mr. Conyers, and my friend, Mr. Clarke, are paying our debts. And we are doing so with enthusiasm. I will let my colleagues speak. The point is, they are paying our debt off. Levin and I have brought you something from Zingerman’s, which is a great restaurant and delicatessen. They are one of the top twenty-five food marketers in the world in terms of quality. And you will observe there are wonderful things here on the table, and in the basket, and when you are done I will expect a report on how you enjoyed it.
Leader Pelosi. Can’t wait!
Mr. Dingell. And I do this with the good wishes of the donations from this wonderful place and I hope that when you are up that way, we will take you to dinner and lunch there and show you what good food there really is.
Leader Pelosi. The gift that keeps on giving!
Mr. Dingell. So, Madam Leader, we make this available to you with a great deal of pride. We hope that you enjoy it! And that it brings you the pleasure that it brings us up in Michigan. We go there every year.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you. Now, Mr. Conyers, another distinguished Member from the delegation from Michigan. How’d I do? What do we have now?
Mr. Conyers. Because the Dean of the Congress works from the upper end of the scale, I decided to come in on the lower end and come up with some snacks.
Leader Pelosi. Ah, some people food.
Mr. Conyers. We have no great office to send you to, we have no wonderful awards to brag about, but there – but they’re good snack foods that you may participate – if sometime before in your distinguished career. And as our once and future Speaker, we’re very, very pleased to make this presentation to you this afternoon.
Leader Pelosi. Mr. Conyers, thank you so much. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I look forward to breaking it open. Mr. Levin?
Mr. Levin. Well, first of all, we Democrats believe in fiscal responsibility, paying our debts. Secondly, to pick up an expression from another jurisdiction – wait till next year. But, in earnest, those of us raised in Detroit, we were raised on Vernors. This is not diet Vernors, they didn’t have that in those days. We brought the real stuff. Sanders, I hope you’re delighted, fudge, which also dates back a hundred years or so. And we are bringing this even though we Democrats on key issues don’t fudge.
Leader Pelosi. Their numbers! Their numbers!
Mr. Levin. And then there’s some Gayle’s chocolates and some garden fresh salsa. And let me just say this box here, is from my town. This has Verlander and I know Kellogg’s has its base, I’m not sure who made this brand, but. Mr. Verlander is a tip off that we’ll see you again here next year.
Leader Pelosi. Well, good luck to you.
Mr. Levin. So, it’s our privilege to present all of this to you, Madam Speaker.
Leader Pelosi. It’s good to have a four way bet here, huh?
Mr. Clarke. Madame Speaker, I’ve got to tell you, this has been a very disappointing year for me. First of all, I won’t be able to serve with you as Speaker, and second I’ve got to eat crow because I said the Giants would not survive past Game Five. So, as one of the youngest cab drivers ever, in Detroit history – I spent three years driving a cab – one of my main treats, in the middle of the night, was getting the best Coney dogs in the world, from Lafayette and American Coney Island. It’s a big deal that I bring this here today because for the past year I’ve been a vegan. These are the best treats.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you so much.
Mr. Clarke. You’re welcome and I’d like to present you with one.
Leader Pelosi. You’re all wonderful people, but it’s getting cold. We should end this meeting. Thank you Hansen, to Hansen Clarke, thank you for the non-vegan Coney dogs. To Mr. Levin, thank you for the goodies that you grew up on. And Mr. Conyers, thank you for this. This looks like my grandchildren will be very happy with that, if it gets past my colleagues who are going to come in the office. Mr. Chairman, thank you. Thank you so much for not only this lovely gift, but for the invitation to join you in Detroit. Thank you for the pride you take in Michigan, a great state in our country.
I have this – I just happen to have this ball here, I just happen to have on orange, the Giants’ colors today. So, I want to receive these wonderful winnings, these delicious winnings. You all settled on food. That’s a very good thing! And I’ll say what I said to many of you in the past few days: this is a ball, a foul ball, my son caught it. My husband claims it. Scutaro hit a foul ball right before he hit the double in the first game of the World Series that took—that set the pace for us. But I brought it to the million people celebration of our victory in San Francisco, and a number of celebrity Giants were there. So, Pablo Sandoval, of course Scutaro, but then Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, said Pablo Sandoval, Orlando Cepeda, the list goes on and on of the Giants past and present. But what I wanted…
Mr. Levin. Should we be keeping this, in return for –
Leader Pelosi. I would. But my husband, he buys the season tickets so he’s claiming the ball. But why I brought this is because on that day, at that celebration, some of you have heard me say that the highlight of the presentations was hearing from the players. A million people in the audience. It’s almost like an inauguration – a million people. One of them got up and he said – the reason, he said, and he’ll say, we look forward to whenever the President can welcome them. Teams scatter, you know, after they win. They go home. That’s what they do. So, when they’re together is when they will come here. So, we’ll be revisiting that, but what an honor for Detroit to be in the World Series, for either team, but also, congratulations on winning the MVP award, a Tiger for winning that. Congratulations on that and we’re proud that Buster Posey won for the National League. Any other sports-related comments that anyone wants to make here? If not we can just sit down and enjoy the goodies.
Mr. Dingell. Just very, very quickly here, Madam Speaker, when I was a young lawyer, Friday, which today happens to be, was motions day at the courts. And [inaudible] the Coney Island places that sold these wonderful things – one of my sons, who played for Notre Dame football, had a limit of twelve. My counsel to you is don’t try for 12, three is about enough, beyond that – but they’re really wonderful things to eat and we hope you enjoy them.
Leader Pelosi. Well, you just saved me from twelve! In any event, as they return.
Mr. Levin. Take the dark chocolate.
Leader Pelosi. No, you keep the whole thing! This is yours. I don’t even know. I would have given you more if the Detroit Tigers won the Series. But this is our specialty, chocolate from San Francisco. What a great team. Let’s salute the Detroit Tigers. Some of our Ranking Members used to be Tigers!
Anyway, thank you all very much. I will accept my winnings and convey that to the ownership of the team, that we are enjoying the fruits of their success. And I won’t tell Mrs. Obama that we’re fraternizing with people who eat hot dogs. Health food, I’ll tell her it’s health food. Thank you all.
Q: Question about the White House. You said that you thought Christmas time should be the deadline. Do [you] think though that there’s been some talk as part of the calendar – this week is elections, this week and next week – and do you think there’s already been efficiency in time to get a deal?
Leader Pelosi. No, actually I said we should do this before Christmas. Well before Christmas, so that we’re not up to the — up to the end of the line. What happened was we had a very positive meeting with the President. His leadership is really indispensable in taking us forward. So, I’m grateful to him for the spirit in which he brought us together. Each of us has some idea about how we could get this done in a way that is still confident even as we proceed down the path – that even if we didn’t come out of the room with a solution that we came out with a plan of action, an understanding of what we wanted to achieve, a timetable for how to get it done, what would spring from those discussions that would be continued as an ongoing deficit reduction, gross approach for our country to take.
I think it was said, maybe it’s the spirit of the season, of Thanksgiving. But nonetheless, I think – good attitude in the room.
Q: Was there a deficit reduction goal set?
Leader Pelosi. We did not discuss numbers. We didn’t go into that. But I think there’s [a] general impression – I mean, I brought my impression into the room that we’d like – that I think it’d be good if we did something in the four trillion dollar category of deficit reduction, which is similar to the grand bargain that was discussed last year. And so, that would be the standard I would have. But I don’t want to give you the impression that that was a goal. Maybe we could do more.
Q: Are you considering cutting entitlement funds, or cuts of that form?
Leader Pelosi. Well, I did say this then, but I say to you now: I think it was Voltaire who said, “If you want to debate with me, define your terms.” We have to understand what those terms mean. Do we want to have savings from everything we do? Certainly. So we need revenue, we need savings, we need growth in order to solve this. But in terms of entitlement reform, as I asked you yesterday, what do you mean by structural reform? And that’s what we will be talking about. That’s what we’ll be discussing.
Q: In terms of the importance of these issues though, is there any concern that you guys are going out of town next week? I mean, there’s only…
Leader Pelosi. No, no, no. We’re working the whole time. We have set goals for Wednesday and then we have set goals for when we come back after Thanksgiving.
Q: Thank you. Thank you.
Mr. Dingell. We hope all of our good friends on the Republican side will be able to come to an understanding because Boehner, I think, has less troubles negotiating with Democrats than he does with his friends.
Leader Pelosi. Well, that’s another story – that we all came to the table in good faith, and to the extent that we see a lot of news about the World Series, maybe we’ll have more news about what went on in the room. Who knows.
Thank you all very much.