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Published: Friday, 10/22/2004

Kerry says Bush's stem-cell stance hinders science

BY JAMES DREW
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF
Accompanying Sen. John Kerry, third from left, are fellow goose hunters Rep. Ted Strickland, Bob Bellino of Ducks Unlimited, and Neal Brady, assistant manager of Indian Lake State Park. Accompanying Sen. John Kerry, third from left, are fellow goose hunters Rep. Ted Strickland, Bob Bellino of Ducks Unlimited, and Neal Brady, assistant manager of Indian Lake State Park.
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COLUMBUS - After an emotional introduction by Christopher Reeve's widow, John Kerry yesterday asserted that "by blocking stem cell research, President Bush has sacrificed science to ideology."

"You get this feeling that if George Bush had been President during other periods in American history, he would have sided with the candle lobby against electricity. He would have been with the buggy-makers against cars, and the typewriter companies against the computers,'' Mr. Kerry told about 2,000 people at a downtown hall.

Speaking in Columbus 44 years after John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to lead the world in science and innovation, Mr. Kerry charged that Mr. Bush has "an extreme political agenda that slows instead of advances science."

"As we know, more than 100 million Americans today suffer from illness or injury that could one day be treated with stem-cell therapy - research that is supported by our scientists, by Nancy Reagan, by Arnold Schwarzenegger, by Michael J. Fox, by the Reeve family, and by a majority of the American people. But George Bush is so beholden to far-right idealogues that he has blocked the true promise of stem-cell research,'' Mr. Kerry said.

Mr. Reeve, the actor who portrayed Superman in four films and was paralyzed from the neck down in 1995 after a horse-riding accident, never lost faith that American science was the greatest hope for humanity, Mr. Kerry said.

"That's a faith I believe all of us should share, for Chris Reeve, and for the millions of people like him who believe in the possiblities of this remarkable moment in our history,'' Mr. Kerry said.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mr. Bush's campaign, said the President announced in 2001 the first-ever federal funding of stem-cell research, but did not include funds to research stem-cell lines from embryos that had not already been destroyed.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said in a statement that Mr. Kerry "will say or do anything to gain him a political edge, regardless of the truth."

"He accused the President of blocking stem-cell research when this is the first president ever to fund embryonic stem- cell research,'' said Dr. Frist. "He accused this administration of neglecting science, when President Bush has increased federal research and development funding by 44 percent."

Dana Reeve, whose husband died Oct. 10 from heart failure, said she traveled to Columbus to introduce and endorse Mr. Kerry because her husband joined the National Academies of Science, the National Institutes of Health, over 80 Nobel Laureates, "every scientific mind he could ask, and most importantly the majority of Americans in believing the promise of embryonic stem-cell research to unlock life-saving treatments and cures."

"Chris imagined living in a world where politics would never get in the way of hope,'' she said.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Kerry went hunting in a rural area outside a Youngstown suburb with U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland (D., Portsmouth), local Ducks Unlimited board member Bob Bellino, and Indian Lake State Park assistant manager Neal Brady.

Reporters were not allowed to witness the hunting.

Later, Mr. Kerry said each hunter killed a Canada goose, but he didn't carry his goose back. Someone else did "because it was too heavy, and I was too lazy," Mr. Kerry said.

Mr. Kerry is having his goose shipped to his family's farm in Pennsylvania and will eat it after the Nov. 2 election.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said Mr. Kerry "clearly does not stand with gun owners when it comes to taxes."

Brendon Cull, a spokesman for the Democratic coordinated campaign in Ohio, said Republicans are struggling with an opponent who has owned a gun since the age of 12.

"They went around the state in 2000 saying Al Gore will take your guns away.

"They can't say that with any credibility about John Kerry because he's a gun owner and he knows what it's like to be a sportsman,'' Mr. Cull said.

Contact James Drew at:

jdrew@theblade.com

or 614-221-0496.



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