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Thompson defends healthcare record


UNDATED -- Republican Tommy Thompson is fighting back at claims that he supported the Democratic health care reform law. The former Wisconsin governor and Bush health secretary is thinking about running for the U-S Senate next year. He told G-O-P donors in Washington yesterday that the Obama health law must be quote, “repealed and replaced and rewritten.”

Thompson invited a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter to what’s normally a private function, so he could get the word out about his stand on the health law. The conservative Club-for-Growth said Thompson gave the Obama package his blessing – which he strongly denies. The former governor said he did work to achieve reforms that both parties could support. But in the end, he said the package became too liberal.

The 69-year-old Thompson has been out of the public sector since 2004, and he’s toyed several times with the idea of returning to public office. He says voters have a right to be skeptical that he’ll run this time – but he says the opportunity is better for him now. Thompson was Wisconsin’s governor for 14 years before he joined the Bush cabinet in 2001. He says he’ll decide after this summer’s state Senate recall elections whether he’ll run for the seat to be given up by Democrat Herb Kohl next year.