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Washington • One day after he tried to help a friend topple Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, attempted to reduce her power within the caucus. Both bids failed.

Matheson wanted to strip House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's ability to appoint her confidants to top party positions on committees that oversee campaigns, political strategy and congressional rules, when the new Congress reconvenes in early January and Republicans take control.

He proposed that all of the Democratic House members should vote on the party positions, which he believes would have given more moderate Democrats like himself a greater chance to snag the prime spots.

Instead Pelosi offered her own suggestion, that the members of the party's Steering and Policy Committee pick their own leaders. Her idea carried the day.

Matheson dropped a proposal to make the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee elected rather than appointed by the Democratic leader, telling reporters that he knew he didn't have the votes.

After the caucus meeting, Matheson said he wasn't satisfied with the outcome.

"I don't think it goes far enough, but it acknowledges that I raised a fair issue," he said. "I think I got members of the caucus thinking."

In reaction to the issues he raised, Democratic leaders appointed Matheson to a committee that examines party rules.

On Wednesday, Matheson nominated South Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler to become the House minority leader, challenging Pelosi, the first female Speaker. Pelosi beat Shuler, 150 - 43, in a secret ballot vote.