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Speaker Pelosi and Her Scarf Make History

Amidst the all-Obama-all-the-time hoopla at last weekend's Jefferson-Jackson dinner, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quietly made history.

Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in one of her signature scarves.

During a lull in the dinner Saturday night, Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) got up to do a little "bucket pass" and auction to raise money for the Iowa Democratic Party. Boswell, an accomplished auctioneer, lured Pelosi up on stage to auction off the scarf around her neck.

The scarf is an accoutrement that has become Pelosi's trademark. That night she wore a beige silk "We The People" scarf that netted -- we're just guessing -- several thousand dollars more than she or whomever bought it for her paid for it.

Madame Speaker soaked up the limelight and enjoyed the catwalk, sources tell us. She got up on stage, twirled around slowly like a model so the audience could admire the scarf from all angles. One source in the room said it was "sort of like Project Runway on location." In Iowa, no less.

The bids went up and up, from $500 to $1,000 to $2,000 and finally the scarf around the speaker's neck went to the lucky winner, a random Iowa Democratic donor, for a whopping $6,000. Pelosi slipped the winning item off, signed it as requested, and headed back to her table -- scarfless but having shattered the auction's record, which, until Pelosi and her scarf came along, had been held by former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton's tie at the same event last year was auctioned for either $5,000 or $5,500, state party officials couldn't remember which.

Pelosi is delighted with her accomplishment. "Once again, the Speaker has made history," Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly tells us. "Instead of breaking the marble ceiling she was happy to donate a scarf to break the Iowa J-J fundraising ceiling. It's all in the name of making progress for the American people."

And no skin off her back, she's got plenty more scarves where that came from.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  November 13, 2007; 5:16 PM ET
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