Sight Of Bush With Snowflake Babies Makes Time Columnist 'Want To Throw Up'

Apparently the sight of George W. Bush surrounded by cute babies is enough to make Time's Joe Klein "want to throw up." On this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the panel discussion turned to Bush's veto of expanded stem cell research and his appearance with "snowflake babies." For Time magazine's Joe Klein it was too much to take: "That photo-op, this week with all of those babies made me want to throw up. It is so transparently political and cynical."

Substituting for Chris Matthews, NBC's David Gregory teased the segment at the top of the show: "Most voters favor full-speed ahead on stem cells but the President hit the brakes. Could this be political disaster in November?" Gregory opened the panel discussion with a soundbite from Nancy Pelosi declaring: "In vetoing the legislation, the President will be saying no to 75 percent of the American people." NBC's Andrea Mitchell then noted that while the veto will energize some in Bush's base it also: "Doesn't track at all politically with people in his own party, with, you know, the soccer moms, with other constituencies that Republicans have been trying to court. It flies in the face of that." Gregory then threw it to Klein:

Gregory: "Joe, is he trying to thread a needle here? I mean, this is for the base that's angry with him on immigration, over the war. But there's a lot of moderates in suburban districts, Republicans who say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, you're on the wrong side of this.'"

Klein: "And there's another aspect to this as well. That photo-op, this week with all of those babies made me want to throw up. It is so transparently political and cynical. I mean, you know, I think that the real thing that the Republican campaign Karl Rove is flying into is whether the level of his cynicism about all of these issues, and these sorts of photo-ops is gonna become an issue in this campaign itself. Are people gonna say, ‘How dumb do they think we are?'"

The following is a full transcript of the exchange:

Gregory: "Welcome back. Political science. Even though huge bipartisan majorities of the House and Senate approved federal money for expanded stem cell research, George Bush vetoed it. Democrats think they see a winner for November. Here's Nancy Pelosi."

[Nancy Pelosi: "In vetoing the legislation, the President will be saying no to 75 percent of the American people."]

Gregory: "Andrea, Nancy Pelosi is right. The public is for expanded federal money for this kind of research. Politically, though, does this have an impact in the fall?"

Mitchell: "It has an impact, I think, because this is a way to energize George Bush's base. And that's the only conceivable reason to do this, is to get people excited, the people who come out and vote..."

Gregory: "Right."

Mitchell: "...about his position on this, which doesn't track at all politically with people in his own party, with, you know, the soccer moms, with other constituencies that Republicans have been trying to court. It flies in the face of that, and there are also other critics who would say, ‘This is your first veto? After all that pork?' So you've got conservative Republicans screaming about the fiscal irresponsibility of this Congress who are stunned that this would be where he would choose to make his stand."

Gregory: "Joe, is he trying to thread a needle here? I mean, this is for the base that's angry with him on immigration, over the war. But there's a lot of moderates in suburban districts, Republicans who say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, you're on the wrong side of this.'"

Klein: "And there's another aspect to this as well. That photo-op, this week with all of those babies made me want to throw up. It is so transparently political and cynical. I mean, you know, I think that the real thing that the Republican campaign Karl Rove is flying into is whether the level of his cynicism about all of these issues, and these sorts of photo-ops is gonna become an issue in this campaign itself. Are people gonna say, ‘How dumb do they think we are?'"

Gregory: "David, the bottom line is that those so-called snowflake babies, where the embryos and cells are donated to people who can't have children on their own, if it's not used for research, most of them are destroyed, not actually donated to other people. David Ignatius, in a race like Missouri, where this is an issue, where Jim Talent is being challenged by McCaskill there over this issue that's on the ballot in the fall, does it resonate?"

David Ignatius, Washington Post: "Well, it seems to. McCaskill seems to be making a lot, a lot of progress. My sense is that this is like the Terri Schiavo issue that we, that we saw earlier, where the, the average voter looks at this question of stem cell research and thinks, ‘This is about my health, this is about my parents, this is about, you know, diseases I might get and ways that they might be cured.' And I, and I think that that's the danger for the president. In animating his base, he animates everybody else on an issue that, that really hurts him."

Mitchell: "And there's another Republican constituency, which is the business community, business and research communities that are stunned that all of this research is moving overseas and has been for a couple of years now."

Gregory: "Chrystia, do you want to add something?"

Chrystia Freeland, Financial Times: "Well, I think it really highlights the danger for, as viewed by the majority of this really black and white moralizing on issues. And so there can be something sort of philosophically beautiful about a moral consistency that says ‘a fetus is human, so even if it's one, a one-day-old embryo, that's human.' But when people start thinking, ‘This is blocking research that could save my mother who has Parkinson's,' I don't think they're gonna bluff that."

Abortion NBC Time

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