First abortion, now embryonic stem-cell research. An issue that energizes social conservatives has once again been thrust into the presidential campaign, after Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, attacked Republicans on Tuesday for rejecting President Bush’s limited support for using human embryonic cell lines to develop medical therapies.
“I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents” who face “the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability, who were born with a birth defect,” Mr. Biden said at a campaign stop in Columbia, Mo. “Well, guess what folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem-cell research?”
The Republican Party platform, just adopted in St. Paul, opposes any form of human embryonic stem-cell research. The McCain campaign, however, immediately cried foul, accusing Mr. Biden of “offensive” behavior and implying that the attack was directed at Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, who in April gave birth to a son with Down syndrome and has promised parents of children with disabilities that she will be “a friend and advocate in the White House” if elected.
“Barack Obama’s running mate sunk to a new low today launching an offensive debate over who cares more about special-needs children,” said Ben Porritt, a spokesman for Senator John McCain’s campaign. “Playing politics with this issue is disturbing and indicative of a desperate campaign.”