McCain changes stem cell tune

US Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain, appears to be backing off from his strong support of federal funding for linkurl:embryonic stem cell research,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54727/ according to his responses to an online questionnaire on national science issues. "While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research," Senator McCain (R-AZ) linkurl:wrote;http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=44 in response to a survey from science advocacy gro

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

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Sep 14, 2008
US Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain, appears to be backing off from his strong support of federal funding for linkurl:embryonic stem cell research,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54727/ according to his responses to an online questionnaire on national science issues. "While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research," Senator McCain (R-AZ) linkurl:wrote;http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=44 in response to a survey from science advocacy group ScienceDebate2008, "I believe clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress." McCain went on to note his support for "amniotic fluid and linkurl:adult stem cell research,";http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53610/ which, he wrote, "hold much scientific promise and do not involve the use of embryos." McCain also writes that he supports "making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes." McCain's comments seem to shift his stance on embryonic stem cell...
l research,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54727/ according to his responses to an online questionnaire on national science issues. "While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research," Senator McCain (R-AZ) linkurl:wrote;http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=44 in response to a survey from science advocacy group ScienceDebate2008, "I believe clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress." McCain went on to note his support for "amniotic fluid and linkurl:adult stem cell research,";http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53610/ which, he wrote, "hold much scientific promise and do not involve the use of embryos." McCain also writes that he supports "making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes." McCain's comments seem to shift his stance on embryonic stem cell research slightly to the right from his normally centrist stance on the issue. McCain voted for the (eventually vetoed) linkurl:Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007,;http://sharp.sefora.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/s5ehs.pdf which called for surplus fertilization clinic embryos to be made available for research and for increased funding of adult stem cell research. In May of 2007, during an linkurl:MSNBC Presidential debate;http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18478985/page/15/ between Republican contenders, McCain sounded more resolute in his support of funding embryonic stem cell research. "I believe that we need to fund this. This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It's a tough issue. I support federal funding," he said. The official linkurl:Republican Party platform,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54981/ released last month, mentions only supporting adult and pluripotent stem cell research, and voices strong opposition to linkurl:human cloning;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54177/ and the creation of embryos for research. McCain's answers to the other 13 questions posed in the ScienceDebate2008 survey fall more in line with past stances he's voiced. On climate change and energy, McCain again focused on his beliefs that a cap-and-trade system will curb carbon emissions and that increasing America's commitment to nuclear power is the way to energy independence. The Senator wrote that a cap-and-trade system would reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2012, and that he would seek to encourage the completion of 45 new nuclear power reactors by 2030. McCain also floated the idea of offering a cash prize for the creation of new battery technology. "I further propose we inspire the ingenuity and resolve of the American people by offering a $300 million prize for the development of a battery package that has the size, capacity, cost and power to leapfrog the commercially available plug-in hybrids or electric cars," he wrote. On shoring up the dismal state of funding at federal research bodies, McCain was somewhat less specific than his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama. While Obama, who linkurl:answered;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54995/ the same survey earlier this month, stated that he would "double basic research budgets over the next decade," McCain instead voiced support but did not outline explicit funding goals. "I am committed to reinvigorating America's commitment to basic research, and will ensure my administration funds research activities accordingly," he wrote. In reporting our recent story on the linkurl:future of US science policy,;http://www.the-scientist.com/2008/9/1/30/1/ prominent science advocates told me that restoring a cabinet-level science and technology advisor position and moving the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) back to its traditional place in the White House office complex. McCain supports these measures as well. "I support having a science and technology advisor within the White House staff and restoring the credibility and role of OSTP as an office within the White House structure," he wrote. "I will work to fill early in my Administration both the position of Science Adviser and at least four assistant directors within OSTP. I am committed to asking the most qualified scientists and engineers to join not only my OSTP, but all of the key technical positions in my Administration." Comparatively, McCain spent much more ink addressing issues like the US space program and encouraging technological innovation than commenting on core life science issues. He did, however, seem to seek a break from the linkurl:Bush Administration's adversarial attitude towards science.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/daily/24892/ Commenting on reports of governmental interference in the work of scientists whose research may have been politically problematic, McCain wrote: "Denial of the facts will not solve any of these problems. Solutions can only come about as a result of a complete understanding of the problem. I believe policy should be based upon sound science. Good policy development will make for good politics." __[Update 09/16: To clarify, the final version of the Republican Party platform in fact calls for banning embryonic stem cell research all together. To wit: "We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes." You can read about the behind-the-scenes Republican kerfuffle over inserting that statement linkurl:here.];http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjM0MGNmZjY2NGIyYzYzMjhmMzI0MGRmODZlZmM5ZDA__

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