by Steven Ertelt
August 26, 2005
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — Launching one of the first salvos in the race for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, a pro-life group has purchased time on television states in Iowa to run commercials criticizing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for flip-flopping on the issue of using taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research.
The Florida-based Center for Reclaiming America is running the commercials in the first-in-the-nation primary state to draw attention to First’s compromising on the issue.
"We know Iowa is a way to get everybody’s attention," Gary Cass, director of the pro-life group, told the Associated Press. "Our hope is Sen. Frist will hear from Iowans, and they are kind of a bellwether state in the heartland."
The ad shows a picture of a smiling baby and says, "Sen. Frist: We cannot save innocent lives by destroying them."
The announcer asks views to "Tell Sen. Frist to stand with President Bush and oppose research that destroys human embryos."
Cass told AP the ads began airing Thursday on television stations in Des Moines and radio stations throughout the state. The Center for Reclaiming America is spending about $50,000 on running the ads.
Frist is considered one of the top prospects to capture the GOP nomination and the Senate GOP leader is retiring from his Tennessee senate seat after next year and is expected to focus on a presidential campaign.
Nick Smith, a spokesman for Frist, told AP, he "understands that there are many opinions on this issue, and he respects those opinions. However, after long thought, he has made his decision based on principle and believes it holds great promise in helping many people."
After supporting President Bush’s August 2001 limits on using federal funds for embryonic stem cell research, Frist recently changed his mind and may support a bill to overturn them.