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What's Next for Nancy Pelosi?

No one knows for sure, but plenty of ink has been burned on whether Rep. Nancy Pelosi will reprise her role as Democratic leader in the next Congress.

The 13-term congresswoman handily won re-election by almost 70-points. And her top lieutenants say the party would file in line to support her if she wanted her top post again.

But Democrats fell far short of their goal of winning back the 25 seats needed to take control of the House thereby giving them a trifecta.

For Republicans, this is indeed their silver lining after Tuesday's debacle. But for Democrats, it exposes a major failing considering Americans re-elected a Democrat to the White House and expanded the party's lead in the Senate.

So what's in Leader Pelosi's future? (Aside from pressing charges on a suspect who burglarized her California vacation home on election night.) Our guess is that you'll likely see a retirement announcement.

The major question is when.

If she chooses to withhold her decision in the near future, it probably will be to avoid the news serving as a distraction during the important discussions to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." Pelosi will want to be a part of any deliberations that involve entitlement cuts to champion her causes.

But if she's looking for an ideal time to exit, the next session may be appealing. Why? As the first woman to hold the gavel as Speaker of the House, she's seen as a trailblazer.

Also, women increased their ranks on Capitol Hill in the 2012 "Year of the Woman" election cycle. At least 77 women will serve in the House and 20 in the Senate in the 113th Congress -- the largest number ever.

Pelosi could use the huge gains as a springboard to suggest her work is done, pointing to a long list of accomplishments like passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, health care, and possibly the re-extension of the Violence Against Women Act.

Don't be surprised if an announcement comes sometime between now and the first session of the 113th.

(For the record, we're not offering any suggestions ... it's just a theory since everyone seems to be playing the guessing game.)

On a side note, what's next for Mitt Romney after the election? Well, some already have begun his next campaign.

They're suggesting he use his business experience to work for President Obama as his next Secretary of the Treasury.

We at Beltway Buzz concede that the president did express wanting to work with Romney after the election, but we're pretty sure this scenario is not what he had in mind -- let alone, whether Gov. Romney would even consider working for the Obama administration.