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Nancy Pelosi defends doctored photo of women in the new Congress

Chris Moody
The Ticket
Female members of 113th Congress
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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi organized a photo op on Thursday with female Democratic lawmakers on the Capitol steps

As part of the festivities marking the first day of the 113th Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi organized a photo op on Thursday with female Democratic lawmakers on the Capitol steps to mark the historic number of women in the new Congress.

Temperatures that morning were below freezing, and after several minutes of waiting atop the frigid marble for latecomers, Pelosi had the official picture taken without four members. But when her office released the photo, all the women in the party appeared. A Pelosi spokesman attached a message to the picture, noting it had been altered to add lawmakers who arrived late.

When asked about it Friday, Pelosi defended the practice.

"It was an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are," she said during her weekly Capitol Hill press briefing. "It also is an accurate record that it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members to get ready to go to the floor," she said. "It wasn't like we had the rest of the day to stand there. ... Not only were they women, but they reflected the beautiful diversity of our country. Women who from every community, as well as every religious faith, so we were pretty excited about it."

She added: "Thank you for asking about it."

Andrew Beaujon of the Poynter Institute was the first to report that the four lawmakers on the top row were not in the original picture.

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