updated 8/8/2004 2:56:53 AM ET 2004-08-08T06:56:53

John Kerry said Saturday the restriction on stem cell research imposed by President Bush was a triumph of ideology over science and “only adds to the loss and pain” of millions suffering from potentially curable diseases.

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“At this very moment, some of the most pioneering cures and treatments are right at our fingertips, but because of the stem cell ban, they remain beyond our reach,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in his party’s weekly radio address.

Kerry renewed a previous pledge to reverse Bush administration policies on stem cells if he should win the White House and said he would increase funding for stem cell research by federal agencies.

“We’re going to listen to our scientists and stand up for science. We’re going to say yes to knowledge, yes to discovery, and yes to a new era of hope for all Americans,” he said.

Strict limits
Bush announced strict limits three years ago on federal support for embryonic stem cell research, which many abortion rights opponents claim involves the taking of nascent human life.

Since ensuring himself the Democratic presidential nomination last spring, Kerry has delivered the party’s radio address frequently as a way to expand his reach to voters who will choose between him and Bush this fall.

His comments, two days before the third anniversary of Bush’s stem cells order, aired as the Massachusetts senator and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, pushed westward on a postconvention swing through 22 states.

The ticket-mates arrived in Colorado after traveling overnight from Kansas City, Mo., aboard their campaign train.

In a decision that underscored the reality of the race for the White House, their train rolled without stopping through the heavily Republican state of Kansas. It was near midnight when the Democratic entourage crossed into the state from Missouri — and near dawn when it rolled out again and into contested Colorado.

Once during the night, a crowd gathered beside the track hoping to catch a glimpse of Kerry. The train rumbled past, though, evidence of Kansas’ existence as a nonbattleground state. Kansas chose Bush over Al Gore by 21 percentage points in 2000, and Democrats are not contesting it this year.

Despite that, campaign officials said they were chagrinned that they had failed to slow the train enough to acknowledge the crowd that had gathered on Friday night. Edwards will make a hastily arranged stop in Lawrence, Kan., on Sunday, they said.

Pitching for Colorado's votes
Colorado, like Missouri to the east of Kansas, is a different matter.

Bush won Colorado by 9 percentage points, but Kerry has decided to challenge the president this year for its eight electoral votes.

Chris Gates, the state Democratic chairman, said Republicans outnumber Democrats by 190,000 registered voters in Colorado, but he said many are moderates ready to reject Bush’s conservatism. He also said Kerry can appeal successfully to independents, who outnumber Democrats.

At his first stop in the state, Kerry spoke briefly from the bunting-draped back of his train. “We’re taking your hopes, your dreams, your standards ... to the White House,” he said.

And in a hurried, private moment, Pat Winsor of Lamar, Colo., urged to him to enact policies that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. “He said I assure you we’re going to work on it,” she said in an interview afterward.

Winsor said she is on Medicare and has a son-in-law with leukemia. The cost of six pills recently prescribed for him was $600, she said.

Seeking more stem cell research
In his radio address, Kerry pointed out that three years have passed since Bush announced on Aug. 9, 2001, that he would limit federal spending for stem cell research to lines then in existence.

“Those affected by this decision already mark so many hard anniversaries of their own,” he said. “Marking today’s anniversary only adds to the loss and the pain.”

Embryonic stem cells can morph into any cell of the body. Many scientists say that opens the possibility of finding treatments or cures for conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Many abortion rights opponents oppose the use of embryonic stem cells for research because they come from human embryos a few days old. The embryo must be destroyed to obtain the stem cells, opposed by many people who consider life to begin at conception.

“In America, we don’t sacrifice science for ideology,” Kerry said. “People of good will and good sense can resolve the ethical issues without stopping lifesaving research.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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