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Republicans Predict an Obama Rebuff, Democrats Foresee Surprise

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Republicans Haley Barbour and Sarah Palin cast the Nov. 2 election as a repudiation of President Barack Obama’s policies and a “political earthquake” that will blow Democrats out of office.

Democrats, in making their closing arguments to voters on the Sunday talk shows, said their party may still keep control of the House of Representatives. If they don’t, voters will expect Republicans to compromise with Obama in order to trim the budget deficit, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine warned on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Barbour, Republican Governors Association chairman, said on NBC that “the midterm election is a referendum on Obama’s policies” and predicted that the Republicans will take over the House.

“It’s going to be a political earthquake and the message will have been sent to the left that they blew it,” Palin, former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Nonpartisan political analysts, including Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report in Washington, project the election will cost Democrats the House and several seats in the Senate.

Democrats Fired Up

“Democrats are much more fired up in the last two weeks than people would think,” said Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.

“It’s not a lost cause,” Representative Chris Van Hollen, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on Fox. “All these Washington pundits are going to be surprised.”

Republicans need a net gain of 39 seats to win the House. Republicans have a 47 percent to 44 percent edge among likely voters in congressional races, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26.

Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said he doesn’t think his party will take control of the Senate in this election.

“We’ll make a lot of headway,” Cornyn said today on ABC’s “This Week” program. “I’m not predicting that we’ll get the majority this cycle. It’ll probably going to take two cycles but there’s certainly the potential there.”

Barbour, governor of Mississippi, said the election is a referendum on Obama’s health care and economic policies that represent the “biggest lurch to the left in American political history.”

One-Term President

Kaine said Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have a “political and partisan agenda.” McConnell recently told the National Journal that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Rendell said McConnell’s recent “attacks” on the president have “fired up” African American voters in particular.

Kaine said Democratic losses would force House Republicans to vote for unpopular spending cuts and tax increases in order to uphold a pledge to voters to trim the budget deficit by $100 billion next year.

“The Republicans will be forced to govern,” said Kaine. Republicans will face a difficult choice on whether to keep former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for all Americans or to end them for those earning $250,000 a year or more, as Obama has proposed, Kaine said.

“We’re going to put the Republicans to their word and see if they are willing to reject what they did in the Bush administration,” said Kaine.

Cutting the Budget

Barbour expressed confidence Republicans would honor their promise to cut the budget deficit, saying $100 billion represents just 3 percent of the total federal budget. “It can be done,” he said, without providing specifics.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, speaking on CBS, said two potential areas for compromise would be to continue the Bush tax cuts for a year or two for those earning more than $250,000 or immediately end the cuts for those earning more than $1 million a year. “I don’t think that is going to disrupt our economy,” said Klobuchar, a Democrat.

Palin said biased media coverage of the Alaska senate race has hurt Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Joe Miller’s campaign against write-in candidate Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Miller’s campaign has been struggling, creating an opportunity for Democratic candidate Scott McAdams, mayor of Sitka, in the three-way contest.

“That’s sick,” Palin said of the media coverage. “Those are corrupt bastards. That is what’s wrong with the media today when they have their chosen one.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Heidi Przybyla in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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