updated 8/3/2005 12:17:50 PM ET 2005-08-03T16:17:50

President Bush has reaffirmed his opposition to any legislation that would expand funding for stem cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos.

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“I am confident I have achieved the right balance between science and ethics,” Bush said during a White House interview Tuesday with reporters from eight newspapers.

The president’s comments were his first on the subject since Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., reversed his position to support more federal dollars for stem cell research.

In 2001 Bush banned federal dollars for stem cell research beyond existing cell lines, although private groups have paid for some new research. A Senate bill would lift those restrictions.

“There are ethical dilemmas when it comes to science, and I think it’s very important for a government to recognize those ethical dilemmas,” Bush told the reporters. “The dilemma I was faced with was do I allow the destruction of life in order to advance science.”

In the interview, conducted shortly before Bush left for a monthlong stay at his Texas ranch, the president also commented about terrorism, his nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court and recent legislative victories.

Looking ahead to Senate confirmation hearings for Roberts, Bush said, “We got plenty of legislators in Washington, and what we needed was a judge that I called a strict constructionist.” Roberts’ record, he said, “convinced me that he would be such a judge.”

In a speech Wednesday in Grapevine, Texas, Bush will talk about the fight against terrorists. “They are narrow-minded people, don’t tolerate human rights, women’s rights, don’t tolerate dissent,” he said. “There’s no such thing as rule of law as far as they’re concerned — that they’re cold-blooded killers.”

Bush spoke Tuesday with reporters from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, The Detroit News, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, The Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot News, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant, The Des Moines (Iowa) Register and The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

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