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Pelosi Likely to Issue Gephardt Endorsement Next Week

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may endorse one of the nine Democrats vying for the presidential nomination next week.

“I will take some time to turn to politics” next week, Pelosi told reporters.

Pelosi said that before now she had been too busy focusing on the war in Iraq and policy issues, such as President Bush’s tax-cut proposal, to give much thought to whom she would endorse.

While she did not tip her hand, it is widely rumored that Pelosi will fall in line behind her predecessor as Minority Leader, Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.).

On Wednesday, Gephardt promised a rollout of endorsements that will extend across several months.

He is expected to name some big backers — such as Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) — before the Memorial Day recess.

While Gephardt has yet to unveil a list, many House Democrats already have publicly endorsed him. Among them: Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.), his national campaign co-chairman; Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Matsui (Calif.); Budget ranking member John Spratt (S.C.); Rep. John Murtha (Pa.); Rep. Sherrod Brown (Ohio); and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (R.I.).

Ultimately, the number should total around 50, Democratic sources have said.

This is Gephardt’s second run for the presidency. He lost the nomination to Michael Dukakis in 1988.

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