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Stem Cell Photo Op - Part II (Or, Bush Says No)

Reported by Donna - May 25, 2005

After sitting through an hour of Studio B with Shepard Smith and having to endure the lead story of Michael Jackson and then having them go over the Michael Jackson story two more times in the broadcast, I thought I wouldn't have anything to report today.

However, yesterday I reported on a photo op for President Bush regarding stem cells and Fox doesn't dissappoint. Somewhere, high above someone must have realized that they hadn't included a President Bush photo clip and with a few minutes to go in the broadcast, while interviewing another guest, Smith turned (unexpectedly, in the middle of the interview) to the cameras and said, "Just so our viewers know, the President is about to speak.(As it turns out - he had already spoken) It's a tape playback with the President of Indonesia. He's talked about stem cell research and as they roll that from the White House, we'll play that in about one minute from now."

Of course they did a 'Fox News Alert' before rolling with the story.

Smith reiterated that the President was speaking to the President from Indonesia and speaking about stem cell research which has been "very much" in the news now.

To the video clip. The President is sitting in a chair opposite of the Indonesian President and we hear a female reporter out of camera range ask the following question: (what follows is paraphrased, my transcript, but pretty much word for word including the uh's and um's)

(Reporter) Regarding embryonic stem cells. Why do you think that either storing them or even discarding them is better than using them for research? (Excellent question)

(President Bush) Um..(turns to the Indonesian President) she's asking about a very delicate subject called embryonic stem cell research. I have made my position very clear on that issue. Uh...I believe that..uh...federal monies..uh..that end up destroying life is not positive, it's not good. (I guess it's just not prudent)

And, so therefore, I am against the extension of the..uh..uh..new embryonic stem cell lines. As you know, I've made the decision that existing lines should receive federal dollars and we've had about 600 different experiments with about 3000 more to go.

And, so, you ask about frozen embryos. That would entail the destruction of life and the use of federal dollars to destroy life is something I simply do not support.

(At this point, it sounded like the same female reporter was trying to ask a follow up, perhaps, something along the lines of why didn't he answer her question, that they were destroyed anyway, why not use them for research, but they went to another reporter who asked a question regarding the military in Indonesia)

After some talk about the military....

(President Bush) Cameron?

(Male reporter off camera) Again, on stem cells, Mr. President, if I understand you correctly, the embryos put together for in vitro fertilization, do contain life. If that's the case, do you believe that those people who create those embryos for in vitro fertilization, have an obligation to ensure that they are brought to term if they are in fact not needed by the original (last word(s) spoken over by the president)

(President Bush) The issue that involves the federal government is whether or not we use taxpayers money that would end up destroying that life, that's the issue at hand.

And, as you know, I'm the first president who has said we could use federal dollars on embryonic stem cells. But those stem cells have already been created, so from that moment I made the declaration forward that we would not use taxpayer money to destroy life. That's the issue.

And the Congress has made it's position clear and I've made my position clear. And, I will be vetoing the bill they send to me (pause) if it were to pass the US Senate.

Now, there is research going on in the private sector. There is a lot of research on adult stem cells that appears to be very promising.

And my government (not 'our' government) strongly supports stem cells (very long pause) strongly supports adult stem cell research (whew, just in time).

There must be a balance between science and ethics. And I've made my decision as to how best to achieve that balance.

Comment: How I wish he would have answered the reporters question about the embryonic stem cells that are discarded. But Fox got their photo op of Bush in,his position made and a message to the Senate and the American Public. He isn't going to allow passage of federally funding embryonic stem cell research, he'd rather have them discarded. At times he spoke almost like he was more concerned about using the federal monies than about the actual stem cells.

And how about that second question? Would the people who created these embyonic stem cells be 'obligated' to bring them to term? Sounds like something out of 1984 or Frankenstein and who is the mysterious reporter, Cameron, who asked the question?

For science and for those who hold hope against horrific diseases such as paralysis, diabetes, parkinsons and others, the president says 'no'.

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