Former first lady Nancy Reagan, who opposes President Bush’s policy on limiting embryonic stem cell research, is backing the Republican’s re-election bid.
“The campaign is certainly about more than one issue,” said spokeswoman Joanne Drake, who described Reagan on Tuesday as in “full and complete support of President Bush’s candidacy.”
Nancy Reagan is a strong advocate of stem cell research, arguing as many scientists do that stem cells, the body’s building blocks, can be used to repair organs or treat diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Former President Reagan died June 5 of pneumonia related to his decade-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, stem cells are typically removed from days-old human embryos that are later destroyed when the cells are extracted. Many anti-abortion activists oppose such research, and Bush has ordered sharp restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, allowing it only for stem cells created before Aug. 9, 2001.
Reagan has limited her public appearances since the death of her husband two months ago. She will not attend the Republican National Convention in New York later this month, but the former first lady hasn’t ruled out campaigning for Bush, according to Drake.
“She’s taking it one day at a time right now. We’ll see,” Drake said. “She will certainly want to help but there are no plans right now.”
Reagan’s son, Ronald Prescott Reagan, told delegates at last week’s Democratic National Convention in Boston that he was unhappy with the administration’s opposition to stem cell research. He also implicitly endorsed the Democratic ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards.
“Whatever else you do come Nov. 2, I urge you, please, cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research,” the younger Reagan told delegates.