Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi plans to make a big announcement on Wednesday finally answering questions about whether she will continue as House Minority Leader or step down after an election that left her with too few seats to get back into the speaker's chair she lost two years ago.
"Next week we will be welcoming a very large Democratic freshman class. The Democratic Caucus will bring to the 113th Congress the first caucus where the majority is women and minorities," Pelosi wrote in a memo on Friday. "Our new Caucus will celebrate the great diversity and strength of our nation. In America, the beauty is in the mix and when Congress begins next year we expect to have 61 women, 43 African Americans, 27 Hispanics, 10 Asian Americans and 6 LGBT Americans in our Caucus."
Pelosi wouldn't face opposition if she chooses to stay on as Democratic leader, a position she has had since 2004. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other heavyweights in the party have made it clear that they support her staying on.
But at 72, the woman who can't stop gushing about her grandchildren may be ready to move on. If that's the case it certainly won't be because of weakness. With a slight build and 5-foot-4 frame, Pelosi has, at times, been under-estimated. Yet she has made a huge impact over the last eight years - in big ways and small.
"Anybody who's ever dealt with me knows not to mess with me," Pelosi told Time six years ago. That was never more true than two years ago when House Democrats approved a massive overhaul of the country's health system, surmounting huge Republican oppostion to provide coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.
"Last night's Democratic triumph may have saved Barack Obama's presidency, but it's Nancy Pelosi's moment right now," Joshua Green wrote in The Atlantic at the time. "Glowing profiles of her appeared in The New York Times and Politico, even before the vote. History will remember her as the Speaker who ushered in this era's landmark social reform, and did so against great odds. And yet for all that, she's an enigmatic figure."
So who is this enigma? Pelosi loved politics from an early age. Present at John F. Kennedy's inaugural address as President in January 1961, she soon caught the D.C. bug. After graduating from the Institute of Notre Dame, a Catholic all-girls high school in Baltimore, and from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., she interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) and future House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
In November 2006, Pelosi was unanimously chosen by her caucus as the Democratic candidate for Speaker, making her the first woman, Californian, and Italian-American to hold the Speakership. "This is a historic moment - for the Congress, and for the women of this country," she said in her speech at the time. "It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren't just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today, we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters, the sky is the limit, anything is possible for them."
Watch Pelosi's recent DNC speech here...