Mississippi Republican Governor Haley Barbour on Sunday was quick to predict a Republican takeover in House after Tuesday’s election, but hesitated to say the same for the Senate. Barbour appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” alongside Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, who said he believed Democrats would continue to control both chambers of Congress after the election.
“Do I see a realignment in the sense that one party is going to win total control? No…America is a center nation,” said Barbour, who is also the current chairman of the Republican Governors Association. “This will push us back to the center.”
But Kaine went a step farther. “I believe we’ll hold on to both houses, although margins will get narrower,” said Kaine. He went on to say that this election is a clear choice between “the Democratic Party who has been doing some heavy lifting,” and Republicans, who according to Kaine, have only been focused on making Obama a one-term president.
“I will be surprised if the Republican Party doesn’t gain the majority in the House,” added Barbour. “The Senate will be much harder.”
When the conversation turned to the role Obama’s health care reform has played this election cycle, Kaine was unwilling to admit it hurt Democratic candidates on the campaign trail.
“You can pick out Democrats who are not running on health care, but the Democrat’s I’m standing up with are proud of the president’s accomplishment,” said Kaine.
“Sure, if a Democrat stands up and says he’s against it, that will be newsworthy,” he added.
Barbour, on the other hand, said that “Democrats were running from Barak Obama on health care reform like scalded dogs.”
When asked about Republicans moving to repeal the health care bill next year, however, Barbour did not take the opportunity to advocate that push. Instead, he took a middle ground.
“If they [Republicans] don’t fully repeal and replace it, they’ll make such big changes in it over the next three years that you won’t recognize it,” said Barbour.
The conversation then turned to 2012. A poll released Saturday by the Associated Press found that among Democrats, 47 percent believe Obama should be primary challenged for the 2012 nomination. But when asked if President Obama would face a challenge from the left in 2012, Kaine said no.
“The president has got solid support among Democrats,” he said. “The president is going to be the Democratic nominee in 2012.”
Barbour then chimed in saying, “Who is there to the left of him?” When pressed about his plans for 2012, Barbour said “I haven’t given it any thought,” adding that he would revisit the idea after the midterm elections.