- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele apologized yesterday for comparing embryonic stem-cell research to the Holocaust during a speech to a Baltimore Jewish group a day earlier.

“I humbly apologize to everyone,” said Mr. Steele, a Republican and a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Mr. Steele said he was trying to say everybody should be careful about “all things that touch on life,” and was not making a direct link to the Holocaust.

“That was just my personal, moral caution, that unfortunately led some to infer I was linking the two, and I was not,” he said on WBAL Radio.

Mr. Steele made his comments Thursday while speaking to the Baltimore Jewish Council. One of the 40 persons in the audience asked Mr. Steele what he thought about embryonic stem-cell research.

“You of all folks know what happens when people decide they want to experiment on human beings, when they want to take your life and use it as a tool,” Mr. Steele said in remarks reported by the Baltimore Sun. “I know that as well in my community, out of our experience with slavery. So I’m very cautious when people say this is the best new thing.”

Among those in the audience was Myrna Cardin, the wife of U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat also running for the Senate seat now held by Paul S. Sarbanes, a Democrat who is retiring.

“Michael Steele is wrong on stem-cell research, and he’s wrong on other issues, but he doesn’t have the right to compare … stem-cell research to the barbarity of the Holocaust,” Mr. Cardin, who is Jewish, said at a news conference he held yesterday.

He was joined by state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger and Delegate Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg, both Baltimore County Democrats sponsoring a bill to fund embryonic stem-cell research.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, said Mr. Steele has apologized and should be forgiven unless people “want to make a political deal out of it.”

Mr. Ehrlich’s budget includes $20 million for stem-cell research. The governor has said he is open to research on embryos but that his plan would give funds to research with “the best chance for therapeutic results.”

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