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Steele on Stem Cell

With stem cell research in the news, and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's well-documented ambivalence on the subject, the question was bound to come.

During a radio interview yesterday, WBAL talk show host Ron Smith asked the Republican candidate for Senate whether he would vote to override a Bush veto if he was in Congress now.

The listeners heard only static in response.

"Hello?" Smith said. "Are you there? Maybe not. We'll be back. And try to reestablish contact with Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele."

After the commercial break, Steele was back, but the question was not. Instead, talk turned to Steele's crime prevention initiatives. Later in the conversation, Smith did repeat the question, and Steele replied that he supports the president.

"I do not support any effort that would result in the destruction of a human embryo," Steele said. "I view that embryo as human life."

Steele said he would approve of research using adult stem cells, which are derived from a variety of sources, and cord blood cells. That research is considered less controversial though not as promising by many scientists. This spring, Steele made headlines for comparing stem cell research to Nazi experimentation -- comments he later apologized for.

A Steele spokesman said that technical difficulties disrupted yesterday's broadcast.

Matthew Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 21, 2006; 6:33 AM ET
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