Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi isn't talking to the conservative members of her caucus, prominent Blue Dog Coalition member Heath Shuler said today.
In an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Shuler said: "There's been really no communication whatsoever. Steny Hoyer has always done a very good job reaching out to a lot of the Blue Dog members--maybe he's the guy from leadership..." before host Joe Scarborough cut him off.
"It's very rare that she would come to any of our meetings and have any conversation," Shuler said. "To be quite frank, Steny's the only one who can come to our district, he and [Assistant Minority Leader James] Clyburn can come to our district, but...that's really it."
Responding to Shuler's statements, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said, "All Democrats will measure every proposal by whether it creates jobs, reduces the deficit and strengthens the middle class and we will work with all members of the caucus to achieve these critical goal."
Pelosi has spoken with at least 15 of the 26 Blue Dogs in the last week and a half, according to a Democratic source. She regularly meets with committee ranking members, including Blue Dogs. Pelosi's staff is in regular contact with Blue Dog staff, according to the source.
Shuler criticized Pelosi during the 2010 campaign season, announcing he would run against her for leader of the Democratic caucus. He did run against her, but was defeated handily.
As for his point about Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: Hoyer has, over the past four years, been the only moderate/conservative member of the House Democratic leadership and has been an ally for Blue Dogs in the Democratic leadership team. It's not so surprising that he currently works more closely with conservative Democrats than Pelosi does.
Skip ahead to 3:55 to see the discussion:
This post was updated at 2:16 p.m., adding a quote from Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill and information from a Democratic source.
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