ABC News' Bret Hovell and Teddy Davis Report: Republican Mitt Romney responded Tuesday to a pro-McCain letter written by Bob Dole by saying on "Fox and Friends" that the former Senate Majority Leader and World War II veteran is "probably the last person" he would want to write a letter on his behalf.
McCain responded by demanding that Romney apologize to Dole.
Watch the VIDEO HERE.
Speaking to reporters on the back of his campaign plane in Newark, N.J., McCain said, "I think Gov. Romney should apologize to Bob Dole for his statement. . . this is no way to end up this campaign by attacking a genuine American war hero."
Since talking about Dole on "Fox and Friends," Romney is softening his words.
On Laura Ingraham's radio show, Romney called Dole "an American hero" and a "terrific guy," while acknowledging that he would like to have every endorsement. But the former Massachusetts governor is sticking to his underlying argument that McCain, like Dole, is a flawed candidate despite being "the anointed choice" and the "next in line."
Romney contends that he would make a better nominee than his older rival because as a former governor and business consultant he can position the G.O.P. as the party seeking change in Washington.
For months, one of the whispers you would hear from Romney advisers is that McCain "is turning into Bob Dole." And it has nothing to do with being "annointed" or being the person who "waited the longest." They are calling him old, trying to make the Republican nomination fight a generational-type battle.On Monday, Dole wrote conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in an effort to quell conservative complaints about McCain being the Republican nominee.
"Rush," Dole wrote, "I was the Republican Leader from January 1985 until I left the Senate voluntarily in June 1996. I worked closely with Senator McCain when he came to the Senate in 1987 until I departed. I cannot recall a single instance when he did not support the Party on critical votes."