The fifteenth ballot in the wee hours of the fifth day of voting: McCarthy, 216; Jeffries, 212; present, 6; total votes: 428.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi used the title phrase to describe the rules changes that Rep. Kevin McCarthy had to agree to in order to finally get the speakership he has long sought. Even after those concessions, six of his opponents would not vote for him, but agreed to vote “present” to allow him to win the majority of votes cast.

John Peeler is a retired professor of political science and Latin American studies at Bucknell.

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