It's not uncommon for the 41st president to extend an invitation to those of different political philosophies. A&M leaders and many members of the student body gave House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi a warm welcome to Aggie land.
Pelosi started off with a familiar greeting.
“I should start it by saying, ‘howdy!’" The crowd of more than 600 shouted “Howdy” back.
The atmosphere at the Bush Library's Annenberg Conference Center was very inviting and the crowd ready to listen to what the sometimes controversial democrat had to say.
The former speaker is celebrating 25 years in the U.S. House as the representative of California's 8th district, which includes her home San Francisco. While she and president George H.W. Bush didn't agree on many things during his time in office, the two admire each other's work as civil servants.
“His name and his presidency are synonymous with the word 'civility' something badly needed in our political discourse today,” said Pelosi.
Still when a question from the audience came up about Pelosi's thoughts on contraception and women, a topic that has become a hot-button political issue, Pelosi didn't hold back.
“The issue in my view is not about contraception. It is about women's health,” said Pelosi. A roaring applause followed as it appeared to be a message well received by women in the audience.
“She really helped make it more neutral than it's been in the media lately. I think she handled it with as much grace as possible,” said Maria Garnett, a student at Texas A&M.
However, outside, protesters held up signs accusing Pelosi of promoting policies that hurt the economy.
"She has hurt the American people by restricting the job market and by harming American business. That's why we're here,” said Cary Cheshire, Texas Aggie Conservatives.
A total of 12 people showed up to exercise their first amendment rights, but back inside you wouldn't even know that the audience was made up of folks from both sides of the aisle.
“Universities are about dialogue, about having a variety of opinions shared by many people and debated by many people,” said R. Bowen Loftin, Texas A&M University President.
“She was very gracious and the audience was gracious towards her and I think with both of those combined made for a great event,” said Garnett.
Others in attendance include former First Lady Barbara Bush, former Congressman Chet Edwards and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.
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