Republicans long on optimism, short on specifics 

Top Republicans are forecasting big wins in November and could even take over the majority in the House, but still struggle to say how they would run the government.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who runs the House GOP campaign committee, predicted Republicans would take more than the 39 seats they need to outnumber the Democrats.

"I think we are going to be slightly over 40," Sessions said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who runs the Senate campaign committee, said Republicans could take up to eight seats in the upper chamber, but called the election "anybody's guess" at 100 days out. If the election were held immediately, Cornyn said, "it would be a pretty good election."

Neither Cornyn nor Sessions, however, was willing to get specific about what the party would do if handed the gavel in either chamber. Some, like House Minority Leader John Boehner, are pushing Republicans to offer a specific policy agenda to help woo independent voters, but so far, the party is focusing on generalities.

Sessions promised to balance the budget, saying "we need to live within our means," and promote free enterprise.

Cornyn said the GOP should wait to see the recommendations of President Obama's bipartisan debt commission, which is due to report to Congress in December, before deciding a path forward.

"I'm not hearing an answer on the specifics," host David Gregory said at one point. "What will Republicans do?"

The lack of a unified Republican agenda has left the party vulnerable to attacks by Democrats, who on Sunday were all too happy to fill in the blanks with their version of a GOP agenda that would back tax cuts for the rich and return to the policies of the unpopular Bush administration.

"They're all about repeal and repeat," Vice President Biden said on ABC's "This Week." "Repeal what we're doing and go back, repeal the incentives for industry to invest in solar energy, repeal the health care bill that allows you to keep your kid on your health care policy, pre-existing conditions can't deny you policies, et cetera."

Biden predicted Democrats would hold on to seats in November.

"I don't think the losses are going to be bad at all," he said. "I think we're going to shock the heck out of everybody."

Republicans appeared split on how to move forward on health care reform and financial regulatory reform. Sessions was unwilling to call specifically for the repeal of either bill, but Cornyn, under pressure from Gregory, said Republicans would move to repeal the $1 trillion health care program "and replace it with a common-sense solution."

He was vague about what a Republican majority would do with the financial regulatory reform bill that Obama plans to sign into law this week, saying that no one is even sure of the effect the 2,300-page bill will have on the economy.

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," was also short on specifics.

"What we are trying to do is to make the president a born-again moderate," McConnell said. "We are trying to send enough conservatives to Congress this November to move him in a different direction."

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

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