White House Spokesman Clarifies Comments on Bush and Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 25, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

White House Spokesman Clarifies Comments on Bush and Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 25, 2006

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — White House press secretary Tony Snow said on Monday that he misstated the president’s position on embryonic stem cell research by stating that the president thought destroying human embryos for research was "murder."

Snow said President Bush regards the destruction as the taking of human life but he shouldn’t have used the term "murder" to describe his stance.

Leading up to the president’s veto of a bill requiring taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, Snow said President Bush regarded killing days-old unborn children for their stem cells as "murder."

"The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He’s one of them," Snow said at the time.

He qualified that statement in response to a reporter’s questions during Monday’s press briefing.

"I overstepped my brief there, and so I created a little trouble for Josh Bolten in the interview. And I feel bad about it. I think there’s concern. The President has said that he believes that this is the destruction of human life," Snow explained.

"But he does find — he does have objections with spending federal money on something that is morally objectionable to many Americans," Snow added. "I will go ahead and apologize for having overstated — I guess, overstated the President’s position.

"He would not use that term," Snow concluded.

Snow’s remarks about White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten refer to an interview he gave to NBC’s "Meet the Press" on Sunday about the discussion of the word "murder."

"The president thinks that that embryo, that fertilized embryo, is a human life that deserves protection," Bolten said.

"I haven’t spoken to him about the use of particular terminology," Bolten added.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, focused on the exchange in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

He said Snow’s statement that President Bush vetoed the funding bill in part because Americans are opposed to funding embryonic stem cell research doesn’t square with recent polls. However, the most recent survey showed that just 38% of the public wants to have its tax funds spent on destroying embryos for stem cells for scientific research.