WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — House Republican Leader John Boehner on Wednesday claimed a voter mandate to roll back the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, calling it a “monstrosity.”

The presumptive next speaker of the House told reporters Wednesday morning the Republican takeover of the House and its success in narrowing the Democratic Senate majority was proof that “the Obama-Pelosi agenda” was rejected by the American people.

“I think that it’s a mandate for Washington to reduce the size of government and continue our fight for smaller, less costly and more accountable government,” Boehner said.

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While the Ohio Republican spoke of popular opposition to the health care law, a CBS News exit poll found that voters were split on the issue, with nearly half calling for its repeal and a roughly equal number saying it should either be expanded or left as is.

“We have a big job ahead of us and that’s why you’ll see us roll up our sleeves and go to work today,” Boehner said, adding that Republicans will take the next several months, before the new session begins in January, to map out their agenda.

Boehner is in line to succeed Pelosi, a California Democrat who became the first woman speaker of the House four years ago. Posing for pictures with GOP Whip Eric Cantor, Boehner said, “The American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care.” He added, “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”

Cantor, R-Va., who is in line to become the next majority leader, echoed Boehner. He said voters made clear they thought the Obama administration’s agenda over the last 20 months has failed.

“They have rejected that approach,” Cantor said, “and they want to see us return to a sense of limited government and that means, as the leader just said, cut spending and get us back to an era in which we can promote opportunity.”

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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