During Wednesday's caucus meeting, Pelosi reportedly stressed to her fellow lawmakers that while the results have been disappointing, the party was making headway in districts that have been largely Republican-controlled for years.
The frustrated Democrats met in Rice's office a day earlier to discuss their options as they face long odds of knocking out the woman who has led the Democratic caucus for almost 15 years from minority to majority and back, raised tens of millions of dollars and has had multiple legislative successes. "If we don't, then I think it's incumbent upon her and all of us to reassess who our leadership should be".
And for some, they point to questions about how their leaders, and Pelosi in particular, have fallen short in crafting an economic message that can counter Trump and yield election victories.
"When it comes to personal ambition and having fun on TV, have your fun", Pelosi said.
It wasn't just in the 6th District where the Democrats lost.
She added: "That is why I'm able to attract the (financial) support that I do, which is essential to our elections, sad to say".
"It's fair to say nearly every cent has been raised through the prism of, 'we need to hold the Republican majority to prevent Nancy Pelosi from passing her far-left agenda, '" said Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee - the House GOP's campaign arm.
"You see these commercials that tie these candidates to Leader Pelosi week in and week out in the past several months". Ryan, who challenged Pelosi last fall, said he has no interest in doing so again.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi in front of Capitol on Thursday.
She said the four GOP-held seats that they failed to capture this year - in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and SC - would normally not have been priorities for her party, but she said they made big gains anyway, reducing their margin of loss from as much as 20 percentage points in previous elections down to less than 5 points this time.
Normally, years of Republican gains would trigger a sober self-assessment among Democrats. For all the attempts to nationalize these elections and make them a referendum on President Trump, candidates matter. The bottom line is the Democrats lost another winnable race and Pelosi was a factor, fair or not. "If elected, I will not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker".
"Do I think it's fair that the Republican playbook over the last four election cycles has been attacking Nancy Pelosi and demonizing her?"
Richmond said that rehabilitating Pelosi's image in conservative-leaning districts where she's often a lightning rod of criticism would be "an expensive endeavor" - but one worth pursuing.
"If we take back the House in 2018 then I think she'd stay leader", said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. She claimed that despite Democrats losing their majority in the House under her watch in 2010, the party had never been so successful and her leadership remains a requirement going forward.
If Pelosi is truly the "strategic, politically astute leader" she touts herself to be, she would know 2016 was a change election and voters in both parties continue to want real change. "But her time has come and gone", Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., said Thursday on MSNBC.
Keeping Pelosi, in leadership since 2003 and formerly the first female speaker of the House, would actually be a boon for the GOP, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich told "Fox & Friends" Thursday.