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Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says an effort by more than a dozen states to challenge the constitutionality of the federal health care overhaul is not likely to succeed.
All three Republicans running for Tennessee governor this year have voiced support for a legal challenge of the health care law.
"I don't think that is going to be successful," Frist told reporters after a speech to educators in Nashville Thursday.
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga and state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville all joined the race after Frist decided against seeking the GOP nomination in January 2009.
Frist said he supports Democratic President Barack Obama's efforts to reduce the number of uninsured people in the country.
"From a justice, fairness and equity standpoint, I'm very proud of this administration and that America has address this," Frist said. "On the other hand, most of the American people don't agree with this legislation."
"It just scares people, the American people just don't trust government," he said.
Speaking after the same event, Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen defended Attorney General Bob Cooper's legal opinion that the Legislature can't force him to file lawsuits over the health care law.
"I certainly don't think we ever ought to be in a position where the Legislature -- or the governor -- is telling the attorney general what their position ought to be," Bredesen said.
Bredesen said attempts are being made to politicize the attorney general, who is appointed by the state Supreme Court.
"Bob is a very competent lawyer, and he has looked at it and come the conclusion that his is not a winnable case," Bredesen said. "I think he made the right call."
Ramsey, the main sponsor of a resolution approved by the state Senate to urge Cooper to file a lawsuit, said he's undeterred by Frist's and Bredesen's comments.
"I'll just call it a difference of opinion," Ramsey said. "We're called the Volunteer State for a reason -- we don't give up on a fight simply because there's a chance we could lose.
"That makes us want to fight even more."