Michael J. Fox Fires Back at Critics


I mean, it's so, been through so many generations, it's just like using a first-issue Mac in today's computer world. You can't great results from that. We need to fully support these scientists and give them what they need.

And, again, set rigid ethical standards and have faith in them to follow the standards and to explore, with the best material they can have, answers that will take care of our citizenry.

We're talking about the greatest asset that we have, which is our people. And we're saying we're forsaking those people for the sake of these cells which are, as I said, going to be destroyed.

The moral high ground has been surrendered on that.

Stephanopoulos: Supporters of the President Bush say: Wait a second. He's the first president ever to have any funding.

Fox: He's the first one who had an opportunity to. I mean, this technology didn't-- He came in with it. It didn't precede him. No one had an opportunity before him.

Clinton didn't have an opportunity to vigorously pursue embryonic stem cell research because it wasn't there. It kind of co-arrived with the president. So he set the policy going forward with this new science.

And he immediately took the vision that he took, which was guarded support, if you could even characterize it as support, and so it's not surprising that we've had the progress that we've made, which has been limited.

Stephanopoulos: You clearly believe that President Bush has hindered the progress. Can you quantify it?

Fox: Well, I don't know. I wouldn't put it-- I don't know that he said, "Here's what I think about this; I don't like this; I'm going to hinder it."

I think that it was overly managed to the point of-- I mean, the outlook was immediately damage control and, you know, "Let's not have this be something that's going to make anybody upset," as opposed to embracing it as an opportunity.

So I don't want to characterize the president's motives or ambitions or thought process, but the outcome is obvious.

It hasn't been supported. It's been limited. I mean, the very fact that the stem cell line-- We started out with limitations -- not guidelines, limitations.

In fact, the guidelines, if I remember correctly, and I may be quoting a little out of school, but you'll might be able to look back and find it.

I think the scientific panels that were assembled at the time said that this isn't enough; this isn't aggressive enough. And then they were kind of shut down and that pattern has continued. You know, there hasn't been an embrace of science. Across the board, there hasn't been an embrace of science.

And again, I just go back to the fact that our scientists throughout the history of this country have made tremendous contributions and have proven themselves to be worthy of our support and respect.

Stephanopoulos: You're supporting it through your foundation. A lot of states are supporting it. What do you say to those who say, "You know, we don't need the federal government to get in the middle of this right now, and it's too divisive an issue?"

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