Pelosi’s awkward gavel hand off to Mr, er, Speaker Boehner

Jonathan Strong Contributor

Awkward!

Just minutes ago, California Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi symbolically transferred power to incoming Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, handing him the Speaker’s gavel.

Pelosi conspicuously pointed out that Boehner had chosen a rather large gavel for her to hand over to him.

“I now pass this gavel, which is larger than most gavels here, but the gavel of choice of Mr…” – here Pelosi misspoke, quickly correcting to “Speaker Boehner.” Many in the crowd laughed but none as hard, it seemed, as Pelosi.

So Pelosi handed over the extra large gavel and Boehner became Speaker, and then the two went for a handshake – or was it a hug? Something in between? It wasn’t a total disaster but it definitely felt stiff.

Immediately after the speech, television pundits immediately discussed the respective length of each of the two leaders’ remarks.

Pelosi’s prepared speech was 1,101 words, while Boehner’s prepared speech 1,141. Typically, said Brit Hume on Fox News, outgoing Speakers keep their remarks quite brief.