McCain, Obama agree on big issues

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“[McCain] took extensive notes; he listened intently to what [Dr. Wilke] was saying; and when he was done, he didn’t hesitate to ask for all the research,” said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio-based group. “It was only a month ago he got all this information. I didn’t expect him to change his mind overnight. My gut feeling, and this is strictly an opinion, is he has all the reasons to reverse himself.”

Mr. Burress said the politics of the situation might make it impossible for Mr. McCain to reverse himself during the campaign - “the left and the left media will immediately pounce on him as pandering to the right and flip-flopping” - but he said once in office he thinks the research showing research options other than embryonic stem cells will be convincing to Mr. McCain.

Mr. McCain’s campaign spokesman Brian Rogers last week reaffirmed that Mr. McCain still supports expanded federal funding, though with “clear lines … drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress.”

Mr. Rogers said Mr. McCain also supports the other alternatives embryonic stem cell research opponents say have more promise, such as amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research, and said, “He believes that recent scientific breakthroughs raise the hope that one day this debate will be rendered academic.”

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