Outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi put on a smile and made the best of being elected Minority Leader Wednesday.
"I'm the person that can attract the resources, both intellectual and otherwise, to take us to victory because I have done it before," she said after the vote.
Still, 68 Democrats, a third of her caucus, wanted to delay the Pelosi vote to hear if she plans a change in policies following crushing midterm losses.
Republicans made Pelosi a symbol of big spending and big government.
Democrats lost 60 seats.
Pelosi lost her Speaker's gavel, but Wednesday's election showed off tension with the White House.
President Obama is talking about a deal with Republicans on tax hikes.
Could he triangulate with a move to the middle, between liberals and conservatives, to get re-elected in 2012?
"House Democrats are certainly viewing Barack Obama with some suspicion and they want a guarantee that in the battles ahead he doesn't go all wobbly on them," says Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris. "They view Nancy Pelosi as the best enforcer of that."
A preview will come before the end of this year's lame-duck session.
Pelosi, still speaker for the fight over repealing Bush era tax cuts, vows to keep pushing higher rates for the rich.