By Lisa Mascaro
9:03 PM EST, February 20, 2012
Reporting from College Station, Texas
In an era of deep political partisanship, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made a stop at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library to make a case for political civility.
With protesters against the California Democrat out front, Pelosi called on the example of the library’s namesake, former President George H.W. Bush, and his pursuit of "kinder, gentler" American politics.
"His name and his presidency are synonymous with the word civility," Pelosi said Monday evening, as the 41st president and former First Lady Barbara Bush listened from the front row. "Something badly needed."
Pelosi was invited to the Presidents Day talk by the Bush library at Texas A&M University. It was a friendly crowd in this Republican stronghold. Former Bush aide Andrew Card hosted the question-and-answer session with the former House speaker, who is the highest-ranking woman in American elected office.
"We don't have to agree with her. We don't have to support her," said Card, who was also White House chief of staff during George W. Bush's presidency and is now acting dean of the policy school at the university. "But we should all respect her."
Pelosi is making a swing through Texas as she rallies Democrats, and the growing Latino vote, to oust Republicans from the House majority. She wooed the overflow crowd with a "howdy" and flashed the thumbs-up sign of Texas A&M.
A handful of protesters held signs against tax increases and "job-killer policies," attendees said.
Pelosi had a rocky relationship with the younger Bush as she rose to become speaker in 2007, during the final year of his presidency. But she has had long-standing ties to his father.