Pelosi bashes No Labels as "perilous to our democracy" and threat to Biden

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House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi on Thursday eviscerated the centrist group No Labels and its attempt to mount a third-party presidential bid.

"I think that No Labels is perilous to our democracy. I say that completely without any hesitation," she said. "This is about an illusion being created, that it's about non-partisanship and bringing people together."

Pelosi made the statements at a breakfast with reporters hosted by Third Way, a centrist Democratic group that argues No Labels' third-party effort will lead to another Donald Trump presidency.

"When they jeopardize the reelection of Joe Biden as president of the United States, I can no longer remain silent on them," Pelosi said.

No Labels has been trying to appeal to centrist candidates from both parties at the top of the ballot across the country. The nonprofit's leaders have hinted at a possible mixed ticket pairing a Democrat with a Republican as running mates who can unite the country.

Pelosi and Third Way President Jonathan Cowan are concerned that the true goal of No Labels is to deny the major party candidates enough electoral votes to ensure that neither one can attain the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidential election. Should that happen, the House of Representatives would hold a vote to decide the winner of the presidency, creating a path for a third-party candidate at the final hour.

Former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, No Labels' national co-chair, said in a statement to CBS News that Pelosi was trying "to score political points" in her comments against their group.

"She ascribes positions to No Labels that they never took. She accuses No Labels of causing chaos in the House even though they've spent 14 years working to forge bipartisanship and combat the extremism destroying the country," Hogan said. "Congressional leaders don't like it sometimes when No Labels challenges their partisan agendas and their power, but we don't apologize for that for a minute. Someone needs to speak for the common-sense majority, and we are glad to do it."

A No Labels press release recently called the Trump and Biden campaigns "a house of cards" and said "an unprecedented share of voters is seeking an alternative" to the two.

Pelosi said the perceived lack of support for Mr. Biden is simply the result of the fact that most Americans are not yet focusing on the presidential election.

"They're not paying attention to a lot of politics," she said. "But when they look up, the message has to have clarity. He's busy working, getting the job done, not campaigning all the time. But when he does, I think that that will change."

The former House speaker also took aim at independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who began his campaign as a Democrat—and who hit double digits in a recent Quinnipiac University poll with 22% in a hypothetical matchup with Mr. Biden and Trump. Asked by CBS News whether she would discourage his bid for the White House, Pelosi replied that she would.

"I'm not in favor of a person who is an anti-vaxxer," she said. "Look at his agenda."

Cowan added that third-party candidates overperform in polls when voters are trying to show their discontent with both parties, but when the elections take place, those same voters typically coalesce around a major-party candidate.

Pelosi also weighed in on newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson. She wished him well in the job, but painted him as a puppet controlled by Trump.

"I wish him well. I understand the job very well. I know how challenging it can be," she said, adding that she thought Republicans and Democrats on the Hill could "find some common ground" on issues like aid to Israel and Ukraine.

Pelosi was then asked whether an "election denier" could succeed as speaker.

"The Republicans wanted Trump as speaker, and they got him," Pelosi replied.

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