The question of what role President Obama’s policies will have on Tuesday’s midterm election results was hotly debated Sunday with a leading Republican saying voters will ultimately cast ballots against the Obama White House, while a top Democrat says any discussion of a referendum on the president is overblown.
Governor Haley Barbour, R-Miss., appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” said, "there's no question that this election is a referendum on Obama's policies." Barbour added that he’d be surprised if the Republicans didn’t take control of the House but hedged a bit on the other chamber. “I think it's harder in the Senate. I think Republicans will make big gains in the Senate."
Barbour’s hesitation notwithstanding, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine was ready to counter a widely-held view of a major GOP victory Tuesday night. "I think the Republicans are saying they're going to take both houses. We believe we're going to hold on to both houses and we're going to see. I'm not going to predict. I believe we will hold on to both houses, but the margins will get narrower, as the American public isn't a 51-49 nation the margins will get narrower. This is a choice, a clear choice, not a referendum."
One of the big issues on the campaign trail has been health care. Barbour stated, "Democrats are running from Barack Obama on health care reform like scalded dogs."
Kaine acknowledged that while some Democrats are avoiding the issue, "the overwhelming majority of candidates that I am standing up with, they're proud of the party, proud of the president, proud of the accomplishments and they're thrilled that they have reformed the health care system to stop insurance company abuses, make sure that young people can stay on family policies ‘til age 26, help seniors and help small businesses. So sure, if somebody stands up as a Democrat and says they're against it, that's going to be newsworthy, but all the Democrats that are out there campaigning for it, that's not so newsworthy."
The pair also speculated on whether or not this year's election will have any impact on the 2012 presidential election. Kaine said, "the president is going to be the Democratic nominee in 2012. We feel that the progress he has been able to achieve is going to put him in very good shape."
Governor Barbour, who has been rumored to be a Republican possibility for 2012 said, "after this election is over, we'll sit down and see if there's anything to think about."