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Congress disappoints even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who blames Bush and the GOP

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    WASHINGTON — Add House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the list of Americans who think Congress is doing a lousy job.
    Hours after touting the Democratic-controlled Congress’ achievements at a ceremony on the Capitol steps Thursday, Pelosi confessed that she would give the legislative body low marks if a pollster asked her.
    ‘‘I know that Congress has low approval ratings,’’ Pelosi, D-Calif., said at her weekly news conference. ‘‘I don’t approve of Congress, because we haven’t done anything that — we haven’t been effective in ending the war in Iraq. And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well.’’
    Not surprisingly, Pelosi said President Bush and his Republican allies are mostly to blame. She noted that Bush has vetoed Democratic-led efforts to wind down the war, expand a children’s health program and broaden stem cell research.
    In the October AP-Ipsos poll, Americans gave Congress a 22 percent approval rating, the lowest score since the poll began in late 2003.
    Pelosi, who became speaker in January, found some rays of sunlight among the clouds. She cited a new Pew Research Center survey in which 44 percent of those polled said the Democratic Party can better manage the federal government, while 32 percent chose the Republican Party.
    ‘‘I’m very proud of what we have done,’’ Pelosi said. Her Capitol steps ceremony touted a higher minimum wage, lower student loan interest rates and a new law tightening lobbying and ethics regulations.
    The key to boosting her party’s image, she said, is ‘‘to get through the fog of war, because there is no question that the war in Iraq has eclipsed much of what we have done.’’

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