Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) holds a revered title. As Speaker, she's the most powerful woman in the country. Well, she was the most powerful woman.
On Tuesday, she lost her title, which will be splattered on headlines across the country.
It's no surprise: Polls and pundits have been saying for weeks that the Democrats would lose control of the House of Representatives. NBC News was the first to project that once all the votes were counted, Republicans would take back the house.
By 11 p.m. last night Pelosi conceded defeat and said "the outcome of the election does not diminish the work we have done for the American people."
"Over the last four years, the Democratic Majority in the House took courageous action on behalf of America’s middle class to create jobs and save the country from the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression," Pelosi added in a statement released late Tuesday.
Republicans gained seats in the Senate as well, but not enough for a majority in the upper house.
Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio will succeed Pelosi as speaker. "Across the country right now, we are witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people," said Rep. Boehner. Boehner said he received a call from President Barack Obama Tuesday night to congratulate him.
For many folks in San Francisco the former speaker is still Nancy or Mrs. Pelosi. She raised her children here in the Bay Area. She goes to mass every Sunday when she's in Pacific Heights.
Voters told exit-poll takers they were worried about the economy and were sending the reigning Democrats the message: we're mad as hell, and aren't going to take it anymore.
They had a similar battle cry just two years ago, but then the Republicans were in control and therefore they got the blame. This time, it's the Democrats.
Republicans needed to gain 40 seats in the House of Representative to reclaim the control they lost in 2006. All 435 seats were up for grabs. As it stood prior to the polls the Democrats control the House by a 255-178 margin.