The Republican Party will be in "big trouble" if it does not repeal the healthcare reform law, former House GOP Leader Tom DeLay said Friday.
DeLay (Texas), who was recently dropped as the subject of a federal investigation, threw some sharp elbows at the Obama administration in an interview on MSNBC when asked what new ideas the GOP would put into place if it takes control of Congress this fall.
"They are going to have to reverse everything the Obama administration has done," he said. "If they don't repeal healthcare reform, they are going to be in big trouble."
Debate has swirled over what Republicans will do to block the healthcare law from taking effect.
Many lawmakers in the party now say a full repeal would not work with President Obama in office since he could veto the proposal. Some have argued that stripping the law of its funding would be a wiser strategy.
Still, other candidates and lawmakers want to push ahead with a full repeal measure, at least to show that they are committed to the idea.
DeLay rejected the argument that campaigning on healthcare repeal would hurt the party by drawing attention away from the economy, which is rated by voters as the top issue for the midterms.
"No, all you have to say is healthcare reform is destroying the economy and it will destroy it even more if it is allowed to go into effect," he said.
DeLay, whose pugnacious style earned him the nickname "The Hammer," accused the Obama administration of "trying to bamboozle the American people ever since it took office" and defended the GOP's governing credentials.
"Oh, they're definitely ready to govern," he said. "The leadership is in place" and the candidates are the type people want, he added.
The ex-Republican leader said he wished Republicans would have put together a concrete agenda "many years ago, and certainly when the Obama administration took office."
But he expressed confidence in the GOP's agenda, which leaders plan to roll out soon, and called current GOP leaders an "incredible team" that is "going to be very aggressive and very exciting."