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Frist Versus Bush

Frist has taken on Bush over stem cells.

In a rare break with President Bush and Christian conservatives, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday endorsed legislation to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

“The federal government should fund embryonic stem cell research” that uses leftover embryos from fertility clinics, said the Tennessee Republican, a surgeon who may run for president in 2008, in backing legislation already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that would overturn the limits imposed on the research by Bush in 2001.

Bush has threatened to veto the stem cell legislation on the grounds that it would involve the destruction of human embryos.

Frist said he will support the House bill, even though he wants to clarify in the bill the ethical framework for donating the frozen embryos for research.

“I also strongly believe, as do countless other scientists, clinicians and doctors, that embryonic stem cells uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells just cannot provide,” Frist said, explaining why he believes it is time to change Bush’s policies.

I’ll tell you what this is.  Frist is considering a presidential run.  Stem cells are a winning issue with much of the country.  In fact, the only people who are staunchly opposed to stem cell research are fundamentalist Christians.  So it’s a trade off for Frist.  He might lose the support of the extreme religious right, but he’ll pick up votes in the center from moderates, independents, and some libertarians.  This is a smart move on Frist’s part.  He has to try and distinguish himself from Bush if he hopes to try and win the White House in 2008 and this is a good way of doing so.

Posted by Lee on 07/29/05 at 11:11 AM in Politics • Permalink


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