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Daschle, Frist, Strickland stress bipartisanship on health care

As House Republicans return to their health-care reform repeal effort -- and as the tone of political discourse is examined -- former Senate leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Bill Frist (R-TN) and former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) announced the creation of a bipartisan health project. The project's goal is to aid states with the new law's implementation and to find bipartisan solutions to health challenges.

At a press conference in DC, the three men stressed the importance of working together and across party lines. "Progress cannot be achieved in the absence of bipartisan support. We need to move past the political divides and inflammatory rhetoric, especially in the wake of the terrible national tragedy in Arizona, and dedicate ourselves to substantive discussion and find real bipartisan solutions to our health-care system's most critical needs," Daschle said.

Strickland added, "We do have differences. We are committing ourselves to working together on this joint effort because we know how important it is. We know what we're working for is the people and the nation we love."

Frist clarified what they see as bipartisanship, "It doesn't mean abandon partisan principle. It doesn't mean abandon principled leadership. But it means getting together and discussing in an intelligent, substantive, civil, respectful way."

While House Republicans are working to repeal the law, Frist -- a Republican doctor -- disagreed with their course of action. "It is not the bill that [Republicans] would have written. It is not the bill that I would have drafted. But it is the law of the land and it is the platform, the fundamental platform, upon which all future efforts to make that system better, for that patient, for that family, will be based, and that is a fact."