Image: Pelosi
Evan Vucci  /  AP
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Calif. arrives for her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday.
updated 10/8/2009 1:57:53 PM ET 2009-10-08T17:57:53

The leader of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, cast House Republicans as behind the times, or worse, after they suggested that the top American commander in Afghanistan should "put her in her place."

"They really don't understand how  that is," the Democrat said of the phrasing, contained in a press release this week from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"I'm in my place. I'm the Speaker of the House, the first woman Speaker of the House. And I'm in my place because the House of Representatives voted me there," she added. "But that language is something I haven't even heard in decades."

She was taking issue with a National Republican Congressional Committee press release that accused her of backing down to liberals in her party caucus who oppose Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's recommendation for an escalation of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Pelosi had been quoted as saying that voting for an escalation was a difficult choice for members of her caucus whose constituents oppose such action.

"If Nancy Pelosi's failed economic policies are any indicator of the effect she may have on Afghanistan, taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place," the release said.

McChrystal's recommended approach calls for as many as 40,000 additional troops in Afghanistan for a counterinsurgency campaign to defeat the Taliban, build up the central government and deny al-Qaida a haven.

Many Democrats, aware of rising anti-war sentiment in their ranks and the war protests that have dotted Washington this week, oppose such a surge.

According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, public support for the war has dropped to 40 percent from 44 percent in July.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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