Michael J. Fox's Passionate Political Plea
Oct. 24, 2006 — -- With two weeks until Election Day, actor Michael J. Fox is lending more than just his famous face to the issue of embryonic stem-cell research. He is transitioning from activist to almost a politico, and packing considerable political punch as he lends his emotional support for candidates who support the research he hopes might some day help cure his debilitating Parkinson's Disease.
Though he endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for president in 2004, never before has he so passionately and aggressively crossed the line into raw politics.
"We need brave, smart energetic people to step up and lead right now," Fox said, addressing the assembled crowd of more than 300 at a rally for Democratic congressional candidate and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth this afternoon. "And you couldn't have greater confirmation of that than Major Duckworth."
So far, Fox has endorsed four candidates in Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. A source close to Fox says that he will endorse "a handful more." Fox is an unapologetic single-issue candidate, lending his support to candidates who support embryonic stem cell research and are running against those who oppose it.
In the home stretch of this campaign season, Fox has been sighted on the stump and on television, aggressively challenging candidates who oppose the research, like Missouri Republican Sen. Jim Talent.
In a 30-second television spot that debuted on Saturday night during Game 1 of the World Series in St. Louis, Fox spoke out against Talent and for Missouri's Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill, his body visibly shaking from tremors associated with his condition.
"Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research," Fox said, in his emotional appeal. "Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us a moment of hope."
The political backlash of the Fox ad lasted well into this week.
In the thick of an already competitive race, Talent called the ad Fox made "false."
"Senator Talent supports medical research, including stem cell research that doesn't involve … destroying a human embryo," Talent spokesman Rich Chrismer said.