Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kans.) told reporters on Wednesday that opposition to the president’s health care package was driven, in part, by knee-jerk partisanship and he urged Congressional Republicans to consider backing a version of reform.
The 1996 Republican presidential candidate also predicted, following a speech at a health care reform summit in Kansas, that "there will be a signing ceremony" for a reform bill sometime this year or early in 2010.
But the comments that seem likely to create the most ripples were those that dealt with Congressional opposition to the White House. Dole, according to reports, framed the pushback to Barack Obama’s reform agenda as almost perfunctory in nature.
"Sometimes people fight you just to fight you," he said, according to The Kansas City Star. "They don’t want Reagan to get it, they don’t want Obama to get it, so we’ve got to kill it…"
"Health care is one of those things," he added. "Now we’ve got to do something."
In a statement to the Huffington Post, an aide to the former majority leader clarified that Dole "believed there is an opportunity to do something on health care" but that he wasn’t urging Republicans to simply get on board a final package.