Dole wants Walter Reed to remain open

March 11, 2007 at 1:40 PM

WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- Former U.S. senator Bob Dole defended Walter Reed Hospital and predicted that Sen. Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y., would be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, Dole talked at length about his personal experiences at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. A severely wounded World War II veteran, Dole said he thinks many of the soldiers at Walter Reed are kept at the facility too long and that some of them, because of their injuries and conditions, are not receiving appropriate care.

Although Dole said he did not personally have any negative experiences while being treated at Walter Reed, he did express shock that the deplorable conditions were not revealed sooner. Dole attributed some of the problems to the fact that because of medical advances, there is a much higher rate of soldiers surviving injury now than during World War II. Dole said Walter Reed had too much history to close, as was recommended by the base closing commission.

President Bush recently asked Dole to co-chair his "Wounded Warriors" commission with Donna Shalala, President Clinton's health secretary.

Dole also predicted Sen. Hilary Clinton would be the next Democratic presidential nominee.

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