WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is canceling a television ad touting GOP support for health care reform after protests from one of the Republicans mentioned, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.
The ad quotes a series of Republicans — including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson — saying the health care system needs to be reformed.
Dole is quoted saying: "I want this to pass....We've got to do something."
The ad then accuses current GOP congressional leaders as "siding with the insurance companies" to fight health care reform.
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Dole told ABC News on Sunday that he objected to the ad's criticism of the current Republican leadership.
"I just didn't think it was fair, when I've tried to be helpful in encouraging a bipartisan solution, for the DNC to run an ad that I interpreted and I know others did as a backhanded comment about Republicans," Dole said.
The former Kansas senator told ABC that he complained about the ad to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who told the DNC to kill the ad.
A DNC spokesman said Sunday: "We have great respect for Sen. Dole and his commitment to reform. When Sen. Dole's concerns were communicated to us we immediately agreed to pull the ad."
President Obama pointed Saturday to the support of Dole and other Republicans for an overhaul of the health care system. Obama has made the issue his top domestic priority, staking his presidency on pushing through the sweeping makeover.
While Republicans in Congress have remained essentially unanimous in their opposition to his proposals, GOP luminaries such as Dole, Schwarzenegger and Frist have recently come out in favor of overhauling health care, even though they differ on some specifics.
On Sunday, Dole said: "I still believe a compromise is there. No one I know is flatly against health care reform."