McCain radio ad: “Stem Cell Response”

posted at 10:50 am on September 29, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The McCain campaign launches a new radio ad today, “Stem Cell Response”, after Barack Obama and his campaign repeatedly mischaracterized John McCain’s record on the issue in ads and stump speeches. This corrects the record, all right, but does little to explain the real issues behind the stem-cell controversy, and about the myth of “banned” research:

Barack Obama and his Congressional allies’ stem cell attacks are simply not true. Leading news organizations call their attacks “misleading.” “Out of bounds.” “Manhandling the truth.” “Wrong.”

The truth? John McCain and his Congressional allies fought FOR stem cell research. They stood up and said stem cell research was too important for you and your family.

Stem cell research will help unlock the mystery of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It will allow scientists to explore treatment for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Stem cell research will help free families from the fear and devastation of illness.

Change is coming. McCain-Palin and Congressional allies. The leadership and experience to change Washington and improve your health.

Unfortunately, this ad doesn’t explain the more basic dishonesty in Democratic attacks on this issue. Obama and the Democrats keep talking about research bans, but no bans on research ever existed.  The Bush administration only blocked federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell (hEsc) research, but never outlawed it at all.  In fact, California spent billions of state money on hEsc research.

In truth, no one opposes stem cell research in general, not even those bitter, Bible-clinging Republicans.  Most don’t oppose federal funding for it, either, although a few conservatives do on general federalist principles.  The only significant opposition arises when human embryos are destroyed for experimentation, and even then is only politically expressed in terms of federal funding for that research.  No one proposed banning it altogether.

And, in fact, hEsc has turned out to be a useless dead end.  Researchers have discovered ways to turn adult stem cells into plenipotential stem cells, making the destruction of embryos unnecessary.  Even before that, no treatments were developed from hEsc because of their unstable properties, while adult stem cell research has created many new treatments.  The reason hEsc researchers campaign so hard for federal funding is that private funds go into more promising research — a market decision that has its own wisdom.

I understand why Team McCain chose to go in this direction for the ad.  It’s easier to make the case that Obama lied, and it’s also true.  However, Republicans continue to get misrepresented in this debate, and it would have been nice in a 60-second spot to at least address that point.


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When is he going to call them liars, and start nailing down that fact.

right2bright on September 29, 2008 at 10:54 AM

I think liberals are pushing for fetal stem cell research–even though adult stem cells are much more promising–because they want to continue to erode the value we place on all human life. Roe v. Wade is their holy ground.

jgapinoy on September 29, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Is THIS the #1 item on McCain’s agenda???????

alwyr on September 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Like I just posted in another thread, McCain’s people have got to get off their butts and start hammering OBambi and Biden with the truth, and not – as in this case – just part of the truth. OBambi and OBiden are way too comfortable with their lies.

Can someone tell me what OBambi supposedly said last year, warning anyone about Fannie and Freddie? It was in his first sentence in the debate but did he really sayt anything? OBiden was screaming in Detroit this weekend, demanding to know where McCain was while OBambi was warning about Fannie and Freddie.

AubieJon on September 29, 2008 at 10:56 AM

I think you overestimate the ability of the average American to grasp complicated points in 60 seconds, Ed.

If we can learn anything from Osama Obama’s campaign, it should be that simple lies (“Hope!”…”Change!”) work best.

For political junkies, the detailed explanation works. But the wonk population is relatively small.

MrScribbler on September 29, 2008 at 10:58 AM

The Bush administration only blocked federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell (hEsc) research

They never emphasize this point. Thank you for pointing it out because the media never explain that the debate is over FUNDING, not outlawing.

ThackerAgency on September 29, 2008 at 10:59 AM

As much as I oppose embryonic stem-cell research as being both immoral and clinically useless, I’m not sure there are many votes to be had on this issue.

The McCain campaign needs to be focusing on getting the upper hand on the economic bail-out issue, by hammering home three points:

1. Democrats were responsible for Fannie and Freddie loaning too much money to those unable to pay

2. McCain sponsored Fannie and Freddie reform legislation in 2005, but was filibustered by Democrats

3. McCain’s intervention in the negotiation in the current bill led to less taypayer losses in the bailout.

The McCain campaign can’t let Obama get away with his ridiculous assertions that somehow “Bush dug a hole and McCain holds the shovel”, which seems to be swaying the ignorant masses.

Steve Z on September 29, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Good to know that McCain supports the destruction of human embryos to further research. Oh wait, he doesn’t? Hard to tell. Maybe he does. Who knows.

spmat on September 29, 2008 at 11:04 AM

Here is a nice illustration of how and why McCain has squandered his post convention lead in the polls: playing defense on an issue nowhere near the top of the list for most voters.

Message to Team McCain: wake up!

james23 on September 29, 2008 at 11:07 AM

It’s not about Stem Cell Research. It’s about Embryonic Stem Cell Research.

“All I can say to you is that I went back and forth, back and forth on it and I came in on one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had, in favor of that research. And one reason being very frankly is those embryos will be either discarded or kept in permanent frozen status.”- John McCain 25 Jan 08.

McCain does another dodge. Straight Talk and all that.

Fletch54 on September 29, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Is THIS the #1 item on McCain’s agenda???????

alwyr on September 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM

No, increasing the number of times McCain replaces the term “Main Street” with “middle class” in order to initiate class warfare IS.

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 11:11 AM

PRO STEM-CELL RESEARCH VIA NON-EMBRYONIC SOURCES.

The McCain campaign may or may not choose later to elaborate further. This ad denounces Obama’s lie simply. We’ve already been there, done that discussion. Right now, the public is on PROPAGANDA OVERLOAD to the point that any more controversy is most unwelcome.

Zeitgeist Obama Overlord is not just “unsettling” but has everyone, regardless of ideology, on the edge of an outburst. No thanks to $700billion heist from taxpayers being crammed down our throats. What we have here is a failure to communicate ‘just say no’ to stop gang rape legitimized by Paulson.

maverick muse on September 29, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Is THIS the #1 item on McCain’s agenda???????

alwyr on September 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Hardly… the chum has been in the water and if you notice, the line has been taken. Hussein has grown arrogant again… acting as though he is already elected. I suspect their will be a few tugs on the line and the hook setting will come with the “attack dog” later this week. OODA

CC

CapedConservative on September 29, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Wasted effort. Stem cell research as a topic to turn heads?
Pshawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

The RCP daily tracking shows the edge of the cliff that Mac stepped off of, the trip back to DC. We are still closer then I expected but my budget for Tums has seen a recent increase.

Limerick on September 29, 2008 at 11:14 AM

McCain does another dodge. Straight Talk and all that.

Fletch54 on September 29, 2008 at 11:08 AM

No, it’s Straight Talk, and I don’t agree with McCain’s position, since it’s sort of like “Well, the Jews were gassed anyway, so the gold in the teeth of their cadavers is fair game”.

That said, McCain’s certainly closer to my position on Life than Obama is. At least McCain would try to save babies born alive as a result of an abortion procedure; Barack is on record for post-natal abortion — allowing them to die if the mother thinks they aren’t human.

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 11:16 AM

The RCP daily tracking shows the edge of the cliff that Mac stepped off of, the trip back to DC. We are still closer then I expected but my budget for Tums has seen a recent increase.

Limerick on September 29, 2008 at 11:14 AM

Remember when McCain schooled him on the difference between tactics and strategy? He is being schooled again and he will learn that when he mixes them up, it’s call tragedy.

CC

CapedConservative on September 29, 2008 at 11:18 AM

I heard Obama’s campaign ad on this subject this morning. I live in the Kansas City area, so I looked for “Truth Squad” e-mail addresses to respond to this. I sent an e-mail pointing out this smear to a few that I found, but would be happy to send more.

I BCC’ed you, Ed. Look for an e-mail with “Conner” in the address. Let me know if there is anywhere else I can send this objection.

The time is now to take action. This is the information age, and even though I live in a red state, I want to do what I can to influence the swing votes we need to win.

connertown on September 29, 2008 at 11:21 AM

The only significant opposition arises when human embryos are destroyed for experimentation

If it is OK for couples to create and destroy embryos as part of fertility treatments, then it would seem that destroying the embryos without using the stem cells for research is wasteful.

dedalus on September 29, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Where the hell are the double-barreled power ads that we need to actually WIN this election?

You don’t have to be dishonest, McC. Quite the contrary. There is an abundance of ripe fruit hanging VERY low on the tree. All you have to do is reach out and pick it.

And hurry the hell up. We’re running out of time, damnit!

techno_barbarian on September 29, 2008 at 11:24 AM

CapedConservative on September 29, 2008 at 11:18 AM

How so? If Johnny and Barry are at the town hall meeting and the question is ‘What is the difference between you on the economy rescue plan?’ there are going to be a lot of uhs and ummms from both candidates. McCain can’t win by being part of a team here.

I’m still on the train but starting to wonder where the hell the conductor went.

Limerick on September 29, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Why bother with this crap? Let’s face it; McCain lost all his momentum when he came out with his idiotic remarks two weeks ago. I thought he did fine in the debate, but for casual observers Obama did well enough. And even though Obama knows nothing about economics, it’s enough that he’s not Bush and a Republican.

The only way McCain can win this is to line up Obama’s weaknesses and begin hammering them home. Clearly, most people see McCain as a much better CIC for foreign relations–but they don’t care anymore. This finally mess is largely the result of Democratic extortion over a long period. I don’t know why McCain hasn’t begun to harp on this. His message of cleaning up the system should be his positive. Who cares if alienates those who received subprime loans; they’re not voting for him anyway. Obama and his liberal friends have crippled us, and now they want to blame it on Republicans.

This is like watching one fighter fight another with his hands tied behind his back. Earth to McCain. Are you listening?

BuckeyeSam on September 29, 2008 at 11:28 AM

How so? If Johnny and Barry are at the town hall meeting and the question is ‘What is the difference between you on the economy rescue plan?’ there are going to be a lot of uhs and ummms from both candidates. McCain can’t win by being part of a team here.

I’m still on the train but starting to wonder where the hell the conductor went.

Limerick on September 29, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Why don’t we wait until the deal is done and see where McCain is?

CC

CapedConservative on September 29, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Topics: The economy, the war, energy, stem cell research. Which one is pushing public opinion?

Limerick on September 29, 2008 at 11:33 AM

And, in fact, hEsc has turned out to be a useless dead end.

No, it hasn’t at all.

Researchers have discovered ways to turn adult stem cells into plenipotential stem cells, making the destruction of embryos unnecessary.

They’ve made big strides in this area, but they have not yet created truly pluripotent cells.

Even before that, no treatments were developed from hEsc because of their unstable properties, while adult stem cell research has created many new treatments.

ASC research has a 35 year head start on ESC research, so decrying the fact that there are currently no approved ESC treatments renders them useless is a bit like calling your toddler useless because he can’t drive or hold a job. And if “unstable properties” were a bar to usefulness, then why would we be happy about cord blood cells, or coaxing ASC’s into a similar primitive state?

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 11:37 AM

If it is OK for couples to create and destroy embryos as part of fertility treatments, then it would seem that destroying the embryos without using the stem cells for research is wasteful.

dedalus on September 29, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Ah, that’s the rub. Is it OK? Both situations involve scientific experiments on another human being [in this matter, we Lifers have science on our side, while the Choicers only have established law]. So the question comes down to — how much experimentation of a form not designed to improve the quality of an individual person’s life do we allow to be performed upon that person, particularly if that person is incapable of giving assent?

All of this debate stems from ignorance of key facets of the Hippocratic Oath (which many medical schools have abandoned for obvious reasons): do not give abortions; do no harm.

When I watched those two doctors in that anti-McCain ad talking about his cancer, these same thoughts ran through my mind. Were they using their medical skills to help a person or to harm one?

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 11:37 AM

HEY! CHILL! Does everyone understand the MSM is closer to dKos than the typical Democrat? How many “normal” Democrats have come over to McCain? Most have stated their reason that the party has gone too far left (de Rothschild et al). Wouldn’t you think John and Jane Democrat would notice? Geez…. you are letting the very people influence you that a good majority of people recognize as being in the tank for Obama. There are some 38 days (give or take) until the election… this is September. Did you notice how quickly the polls changed with just a few ads and hammering of “the One”. Looked like testing the waters to me. Plenty of time left… just tread water for a while… save money and then flood the market at the right time.

CC

CapedConservative on September 29, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Is THIS the #1 item on McCain’s agenda???????
alwyr on September 29, 2008 at 10:55 AM

No, increasing the number of times McCain replaces the term “Main Street” with “middle class” in order to initiate class warfare IS.
unclesmrgol

__________________________

alwyr to unclesmrgol: WTF?? Funny, I had thought class warfare was initiated by W. Jefferson C., and had been the MAINSTAY of the liberal agenda ever since.

alwyr on September 29, 2008 at 11:41 AM

If it is OK for couples to create and destroy embryos as part of fertility treatments, then it would seem that destroying the embryos without using the stem cells for research is wasteful.

Right. I have yet to hear an argument that explains how simply destroying excess IVF embryos, or leaving them in cryostasis indefinitely is more ethical than using them for research purposes.

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Ah, that’s the rub. Is it OK?
unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 11:37 AM

It seems odd to argue over the small percentage of embryos used for stem cell research when there are hundreds of thousands of excess embryos created during fertility treatments, many of which are destroyed with no purpose.

dedalus on September 29, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Pablo, California’s voters allocated $6B for embryonic stem cell research in 2004. Name one interesting research finding that has resulted which would lead to any improvement in the human condition. One.

Now, go here and read a bit. Not a bit has changed from when I wrote the earliest stuff in 2004, nor in 2006. Read my 2008 posting which references a Daily Telegraph (UK) article about a successful use of autologous stem cells, contrasted with the “potential” for embryonic stem cells.

The point is that if you can get all the good results from using a patient’s own stem cells, then why go anywhere near the ethical, moral, and ultimately scientific morass (as you attempt to deal with tissue rejection issues) into which you plunge should you use embryonic stem cells? As you consider your answer, consider my post of 16 December 2006 wherein the BBC documents the use of healthy newborn babies in the Ukraine as a source of stem cells for the “trade” (after all, you can get a lot more stem cells out of a full term baby than you can from a smaller “ball of cells”).

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Pablo, California’s voters allocated $6B for embryonic stem cell research in 2004. Name one interesting research finding that has resulted which would lead to any improvement in the human condition.”>Pablo, California’s voters allocated $6B for embryonic stem cell research in 2004. Name one interesting research finding that has resulted which would lead to any improvement in the human condition.

Again, it’s a young field and extensive research must be done before you’ll see anything happening in humans. Both patient protections and the realities of biopmedical research demand that. But to answer your question, some very, very good things are being done in the proving ground, animals. See here. (PDF)

The point is that if you can get all the good results from using a patient’s own stem cells, then why go anywhere near the ethical, moral, and ultimately scientific morass (as you attempt to deal with tissue rejection issues) into which you plunge should you use embryonic stem cells?

If it were that simple, scientists would bother with the headaches. But it isn’t as this ASC researcher notes.

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 12:10 PM

alwyr to unclesmrgol: WTF?? Funny, I had thought class warfare was initiated by W. Jefferson C., and had been the MAINSTAY of the liberal agenda ever since.

alwyr on September 29, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I guess I should have been less sarcastic. One of Barack Obama’s attack ads counts how many times McCain says “middle class” as opposed to Obama’s used of the word. Of course, setting the middle class against the other classes is a kind of class warfare, which the Democrats are apparently advocating, based on Obama’s ad. I note that McCain used “Main Street” vs. “Wall Street” instead, which has no classist connotation other than saying that the players on Wall Street have different goals than all the other city and town dwellers.

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 12:38 PM

Let the Dems push the hESC and then let someone set the record straight. In a huge portion of the studies the mice who were injected with the stem cell developed a tumor in the area. Out of all the Stem Cells the ones from destroyed eggs are the least effective.

Rbastid on September 29, 2008 at 12:46 PM

I was a researcher at the University of Michigan for six years in one of the top stem cell biology labs in the world before I came to teach and do research at Grand Valley State University. So whenever there is a discovery, such as researchers finding that skin cells can be reprogrammed to behave like stem cells, my family asks me whether embryonic stem cell research is still necessary.

The answer is yes. Each therapeutic approach – whether using embryonic, adult or other types of stem cells – poses significant challenges to researchers before they can be safely used in people. Each disease offers different challenges that may be overcome using one type of stem cell therapy, but not another. We simply don’t know which therapeutic approach will work for different diseases.

Pablo, your guy says “we simply don’t know”, yet he acknowledges that there are already “a handful” of adult stemcell therapies with FDA Approval, and, interestingly, can’t claim in his article a single embryonic stem cell therapy:

Opponents of the proposal claim adult stem cells are already being used to treat 73 diseases, but in fact 40 years of adult stem cell research have resulted in only a handful of treatments winning federal approval.

Of course, experimental therapies don’t have “federal approval”, so we don’t know how many other adult stemcell therapies are in the pipeline. What we do know is that there are — zero, zip, nada — embryonic therapies being touted in anything other than animal trials — and left unsaid is how much of an anti-rejection therapy is needed in conjunction with their use. Science has already proven to us how sensitive the human immune system is, and any person who gets a transplant (or their caregiver) understands how ill the anti-rejection drugs make them. Since any tissues developed using embryonic stem cells belong to another individual, embryonic stem cells bring those same issues to the fore.

In this fight, I’d stick with the science that has won a few, not the science that has yet to win anything.

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 12:48 PM

It seems odd to argue over the small percentage of embryos used for stem cell research when there are hundreds of thousands of excess embryos created during fertility treatments, many of which are destroyed with no purpose.

dedalus on September 29, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Again,

“Well, the Jews were gassed anyway, so the gold in the teeth of their cadavers is fair game”.

That’s what your argument boils down to. I’m arguing that even one “cadaver” harvested is one too many.

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 12:52 PM

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Your position allows for the cadavers to be created in the first place. The gold in the teeth is of little consequence compared to the creation of the cadaver.

dedalus on September 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM

If he or she is alive and you kill him or her, that’s killing, period. We ALL used to be one celled animals. EVERYTHING that you are now was contained in that miraculous being. Life is sacred and we have to get back to that formerly self-evident truth.

Mojave Mark on September 29, 2008 at 6:35 PM

We ALL used to be one celled animals. EVERYTHING that you are now was contained in that miraculous being.

How was life in cryostasis? And do you send Christmas cards to the doctor that created you? Do your mourn the deaths of your 5 or so fellow embryos that were implanted but didn’t take?

Every oak tree used to be an acorn. Every acorn is not an oak tree.

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 6:52 PM

And living doesn’t happen in subzero storage.

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 6:53 PM

unclesmrgol on September 29, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Your position allows for the cadavers to be created in the first place. The gold in the teeth is of little consequence compared to the creation of the cadaver.

dedalus on September 29, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Which cadavers? Please explain more fully. Are you talking about mommy? She’s still alive, and she’d still be alive even in the absence of an abortion. It’s the kid who isn’t in the presence of an abortion.

And living doesn’t happen in subzero storage.

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 6:53 PM

So if we freeze a person, and then kill him, he didn’t really die? So the Marching Band Killer in KITH didn’t really commit a crime?

[I assume you are talking about cryogenic storage, which generally happens far far far below freezing -- in fact, as close to "absolute zero" as they can get it to go economically.]

unclesmrgol on September 30, 2008 at 7:17 PM

Every oak tree used to be an acorn. Every acorn is not an oak tree.

Pablo on September 29, 2008 at 6:52 PM

I disagree. Every adult oak tree grows from an acorn, but the acorn is a form of oak tree. An immature form, but a form, nonetheless.

unclesmrgol on September 30, 2008 at 7:18 PM

It isn’t a form of an oak tree, it’s part of an oak tree. A kernel of corn is not an ear of corn, nor a cornstalk. But it is potentially all of those. Potential doesn’t make them the same thing. Once they take root, then they’re the nascent version of the thing they might become, but not until.

Pablo on October 1, 2008 at 10:02 AM

So if we freeze a person, and then kill him, he didn’t really die? So the Marching Band Killer in KITH didn’t really commit a crime?

Again, living doesn’t happen in a freezer. You’re making my point. And that guy? You killed him when you froze him. If you want to kill him again, well, good luck with that.

Pablo on October 1, 2008 at 10:05 AM