Democrats Tried to Play Politics With Reagan Stem Cell Research Speech

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Democrats Tried to Play Politics With Reagan Stem Cell Research Speech

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28, 2004

Boston, MA ( — In an interview with MSNBC in the days leading up to his speech on embryonic stem cell research at the Democratic convention, Ron Reagan admitted that he thought the Democratic Party was using him to attack President Bush.

Now, the son of President Ronald Reagan admits party officials tried to change his speech to get him to endorse John Kerry.

"Whatever else you do come November 2, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research," Reagan said concluding his five-minute convention address.

Though the final line seemingly endorsed Kerry, Reagan tells Congressional Quarterly that Democratic Party officials wanted him to "broaden" the phrase to actually call for a vote in favor of the expected Democratic presidential nominee.

Reagan also told CQ that party leaders thought speech didn’t have enough political red meat and was too scientific.

“They said, ‘We think there is too much science in here,’” Reagan said with a laugh. “Hey guys, this is a scientific topic,” Reagan said he told party officials.

Reagan told CQ he was able to get the party to back off by pointing out that he had spent time with a Harvard professor, Dr. Leonard Zon, and didn’t want to change the content.

During his speech, Reagan told the Democratic delegates, "I am not here to make a political speech and the topic at hand should not, must not, have anything to do with partisanship."

Yet, the issue of stem cell research is wrought with political overtones.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has been consistent in his criticism of Bush’s policy and has said the first thing he would do as president would be to overturn it and use tax money to fund the unproven research.

Meanwhile, President Bush has said federal funds should not be used to back research that destroys human lives and has pointed to the use of adult stem cells, which come from a plethora of ethical sources and have proven more successful in clinical trials.