But Pelosi's mandate is diverging from the president's at a critical time, with potentially damaging consequences for Obama's ability to cut deals with Republicans in the new Congress.
Their partnership is strained after an election in which Pelosi and many Democrats feel the White House failed them by muddling the party's message and being too slow to provide cover for incumbents who cast tough votes for Obama's marquee initiatives.
Pelosi will lead Democrats "in pulling on the president's shirttails to make sure that he doesn't move from center-right to far-right," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., a co-chair of the liberal Progressive Caucus in the House. "We think if he'd done less compromising in the last two years, there's a good chance we'd have had a jobs bill that would have created real jobs, and then we wouldn't even be worrying about having lost elections."
Behind Democrats' decision to keep Pelosi as their leader after historic losses lies intense concern among liberals who dominate the party's ranks on Capitol Hill: They fear Obama will go too far in accommodating the GOP in the new era of divided government, and they see Pelosi as a counterweight.
That’s rich. Nancy thinks that they compromised with Republicans too much over the past two years, and that’s why they lost in a tsunami this past November. Republicans ran successfully against her nationwide. She was in campaign ads in districts where she had probably never even stepped foot in her life. She has become a symbol of hyper-partisanship everything that is wrong with Washington today.