Barbour: GOP will make healthcare law unrecognizable

A leading Republican predicted that even if a newly empowered GOP doesn’t completely repeal the healthcare law, the party will make it unrecognizable over the next few years.

“They will make such big changes to it over the next three years that you won’t recognize it,” Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Barbour said he would be “surprised” if Republicans don’t win back the House on Tuesday, though he was less sure about the Senate. A GOP win would be a referendum on President Obama, he said, and Republicans would first seek to cut spending next year.

“If Republicans win, that's what it’ll be, a repudiation of Obama’s policies,” Barbour said.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, said Republicans were bringing a purely “political and partisan agenda,” pointing to comments by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) that the top priority for Republicans was making Obama “a one-term president.”

Kaine joined other Democratic leaders in predicting the party would keep both chambers of Congress. “If our voters turn out, we win,” Kaine said.

A potential presidential contender in 2012, Barbour said he would look at the race after the November elections. Kaine dismissed a poll that found nearly half of Democrats wanting to see a primary challenge to Obama in 2012. He said the president would be re-nominated and re-elected.

The thought of a primary challenge from the left prompted Barbour to quip: “Who is there to the left of him?”