Pence: Repealing healthcare reform is a mainstream GOP position

Repealing President Obama's healthcare reform bill is a "mainstream" Republican position, House Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said Wednesday.

Pence, the third-ranking Republican in the House, rejected the notion that the party's new Senate nominee in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell, was somehow extreme in her views for favoring the repeal of the healthcare reform bill Obama signed into law in March.

"I think there's a broad and decisive majority in this country of Republicans, independents and many Democrats who want to scrap that bill and start over," Pence said Wednesday morning during an appearance on CNN. "So you bet I think that's a mainstream position."

Some Republicans have rallied around repealing healthcare reform as a campaign pledge going into this fall's elections, though Democrats have also often used it as a campaign wedge against the GOP by highlighting benefits in the legislation that might be threatened by repeal.

The extent to which and how Republicans want to repeal health reform will be a closely watched element of the election-year campaign document, featuring a series of governing pledges, that's set to be unveiled in the next two weeks. Whether that document includes a call for repealing other Democratic bills, like Wall Street reform, is also yet to be seen.

Pence cozied up, though, to O'Donnell and some of the other insurgent conservative candidates to knock off more establishment candidates in GOP primaries this cycle.

"You know, for those who are willing to write off this race now," he said, "I think electing Christine O'Donnell in Delaware or a Republican senator in Delaware, it's about as crazy as electing a Republican senator in Massachusetts."