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Stem Cells, Gay Marriage Key Issues in Midterm Elections

Social issues such as same-sex marriage and stem cell research are hotly debated among candidates in many of the key races in the upcoming midterm elections. Two political journalists discuss these issues and what their effects may be on the elections.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The war in Iraq may be the dominant issue in these midterm elections, but candidates from both parties and President Bush himself are using also social issues to rally voters to the polls.

    Democrats, for example, have embraced support for embryonic stem cell research. An independent Democratic group is running this ad against six Republicans, including Congressman James Walsh from upstate New York.

  • YOUNG MAN:

    Next summer, I'm going on a camping trip with my friends. On the way home, I'll be in a car accident and I'll be paralyzed for the rest of my life.

  • WOMAN:

    In 20 years, I'll have Alzheimer's. I won't recognize my husband or my kids.

  • YOUNG GIRL:

    Next week, my mommy and daddy are going to find out that I have diabetes.

  • WOMAN:

    This is my congressman.

  • YOUNG GIRL:

    James Walsh.

  • YOUNG MAN:

    He voted against federal funding for stem cell research.

  • WOMAN:

    Is he a doctor?

  • YOUNG MAN:

    Is he a scientist?

  • WOMAN:

    Why did Congressman Walsh bet my life that he knows best?

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has taken a prominent role by recording ads for two Democratic Senate candidates, Claire McCaskill, running against incumbent Jim Talent in New Jersey.

  • MICHAEL J. FOX, Actor:

    But you can elect Claire McCaskill who shares my hope for cures.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    And for Ben Cardin, running against Republican Michael Steele in Maryland.

  • MICHAEL J. FOX:

    Stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans with diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. But George Bush and Michael Steele would put limits on the most promising stem cell research.

    Fortunately, Marylanders have a chance to vote for Ben Cardin. Cardin fully supports lifesaving stem cell research. It's why I support Ben Cardin. And with so much at stake, I respectfully ask you to do the same.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Republican Steele said he, too, supports stem cell research using adult stem cells but not human embryos. He countered the Fox ad with this one.

  • WOMAN IN AD:

    Congressman Ben Cardin is attacking Michael Steele with deceptive, tasteless ads. He is using the victim of a terrible disease to fight people, all for his own political gain. Mr. Cardin should be ashamed.

    There's something you should know about Michael Steele. He does support stem cell research, and he cares deeply for those who suffer from disease. How do I know? I'm Michael Steele's little sister. I have M.S., and I know he cares about me.