Frist Backs Stem Cells, Right-Wing Flips Out
A dozen religious leaders and conservative advocacy groups, in blistering language, attacked Frist for abandoning the Bush policy.
"It certainly gives one pause in trusting his commitment to the sanctity of life," said Lanier Swann, government relations director of Concerned Women for America.
The Christian Defense Coalition said Frist should not expect its support in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, while the Catholic bishops of Pennsylvania took the opportunity to issue a pointed reminder that the church views embryonic stem cell research as "morally unacceptable."
Catholic League President William Donohue called Frist "Dr. Duplicity." An editorial in the conservative Weekly Standard magazine said: "The incoherence of Frist's position is staggering," while the National Pro-Life Action Center lambasted what it called Frist's "sell-out."
Aides said Frist informed the president of his decision in a phone call Thursday evening, and McClellan said Bush told the majority leader to "vote your conscience."
So will Bush be seen as going softy too, now? Whatever the case, it beats an examination by videotape.