<!--[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]-->Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist added his voice to those in the Republican camp expressing admiration for President-elect Barack Obama. He urged Republicans to work with Obama, and called on Obama to make helping the uninsured an "immediate" priority.
In a commentary for CNN's web site, Frist, a former transplant surgeon who served two Senate terms as a Tennessee Republican, wrote with admiration about how people have rallied to Obama.
"You have the followers; you have the believers; even your loudest critics recognize that you are endowed with leadership talents that are precious," wrote Frist, who had harbored presidential ambitions of his own. He continued:
The wounds of the campaign are not as deep or angry as the media portray. For many, there is disappointment, and this must be consoled with time and discussion; for more, there is a sense of hope and quiet optimism that fresh ideas and new faces and commitment to collaboration can, if handled with care and grace, nurture a new prosperity.
Frist taught a course on health policy last year at Princeton, his alma mater, and said he was impressed by students' energetic interest in improving "the system" rather than tearing it down, as was the case when he was a student in the Vietnam era.
He urged Obama not to let health reform get eclipsed by other economic and international crises. "There is nothing more intimate or more personal to any of us than the health of our loved ones. Don't let it slip to the back burner."