Romney Clarifies Remark On Bob Dole

From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

CHARLESTON, W.V. -- Responding to what John McCain called a "disgraceful" attack on former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, Mitt Romney told reporters that Dole was "a war hero, a fine man and a great leader for our party."

McCain had called on Romney to apologize for the comments the former Massachusetts governor made in response to a question asked of him on Fox News this morning. Romney was asked what he made of Dole's letter to Rush Limbaugh, which requested that the conservative radio commentator cease his anti-McCain attack rhetoric, which have escalated in recent days.

"Well, it's probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me," Romney said of Dole.

After he spoke at the West Virginia Republican delegate convention later this morning, Romney said at a press conference that he greatly admired Dole, had attended a fundraiser on his behalf, and recalled contributing to his 1996 presidential campaign.

"What I said was he's not the person I would've wanted if I were John McCain to be writing a letter to Rush Limbaugh about this election process because Bob Dole reminds the American public that our selection at that time was seen by most as being one that went to the person who waited in line the longest, who deserved the nomination, who'd been in the Senate the longest, and that I don't believe will be a successful strategy in this process," Romney said. "I don't think that Senator McCain will be helped by a parallel to a campaign based on being in the Senate the longest, being the person who deserves it, being the frontrunner. Instead, I think we're best to select the nominee who brings new vision, passion, energy, judgment and ideas to the White House."

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.