March 31st, 2009
04:23 PM ET
7 years ago

Kaine blocks funding for embryonic stem cell research

Virginia governor Tim Kaine was Obama's choice to lead the DNC.

Virginia governor Tim Kaine was Obama's choice to lead the DNC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has signed a bill into law banning the use of some state funds for embryonic stem cell research.

The move puts the DNC chairman at odds with President Obama, who signed an executive order earlier this month reversing the Bush administration's ban on federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells.

Kaine approved the Virginia bill on Monday, according to the governor's office, the same day he enacted legislation that would permit "Choose Life" license plates in the commonwealth - an act that angered state and national abortion rights advocates.

The governor signed another piece of legislation Monday aimed at promoting "science and technology-based" research and development in Virginia. It contains language inserted by the General Assembly that would prevent a state fund from providing dollars to organizations or businesses that undertake "research in Virginia on human cells or tissue derived from induced abortions or from stem cells obtained from human embryos."

Kaine's support for the legislation is not surprising: He is a staunch Catholic who has long opposed using taxpayer money for embryonic stem cell research. But the platform of the Democratic Party, now headed by Kaine at Obama's behest, describes embryonic stem cell research as "research that could save lives."

Both the stem cell bill and the license plate uproar highlight the balancing act Kaine faces in his dual roles of the moment: one as policy-minded governor of a moderate state, and another as a the national face for a partisan organization seeking to promote President Obama agenda. Kaine will assume the DNC position full time when his term expires in January.

Asked for comment about Kaine's departure from the national party line, the DNC referred questions to the governor's office in Richmond.

Lynda Tran, the governor's communications director, said that Kaine's decision is "in keeping with his faith and his personal beliefs."

"The governor is opposed to the use of state funds to fund embryonic stem cell research, but he generally agrees with the national platform broadly, that there are scientific values to stem cell research," Tran said. "In Virginia, where there has been strong opposition to embryonic research, he has chosen to focus on other forms of research like adult and placental stem cell research."

The bill signed Monday allows funding for non-embryonic types of research.

All three of the Democrats vying to replace Kaine as governor this fall - Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds - support using state money for embryonic research.

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Republican candidate for governor, Bob McDonnell, said he opposes state funding for embryonic research but supports other forms of stem cell research. Martin said McDonnell has "a personal and direct interest" in the matter because his father suffers from Alzheimer's.

"Adult stem cell research avoids the ethical questions associated with taxpayer funded embryonic stem cell research," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. "Bob McDonnell believes we should focus tax dollars on research methods where there is common ground.

Article updated at 9:30 a.m. EST

Filed under: DNC • President Obama • Tim Kaine
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. republicans hate america

    Just make sure if you are ever dying of anything you refuse any treatment coming from this science even if its the only way to save you.

    March 31, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. meh

    Um Yeah....good luck getting re-elected! People need to keep their religion out of their politics!

    March 31, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Aurelie

    Pathetic. With democrats like him who needs Republicans ...

    March 31, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. justin

    It looks like the two that were next in line for VP are getting some payback for not getting picked.

    March 31, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. mary dale

    Gov. Kaine can have his own opinion but he is the governor of all the people in his state, not just the Catholics. Stem cell research was almost completely stopped for 8 years because Bush didnt like it either and look how far we could have gone. Check back in 2016 to see what dicoveries have been made due to embryonic stem cell research and that is where we would be today if Bush had not let his personal ideologue control the funding.

    March 31, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Marty, Grand Rapids

    "Choose Life" license plates? Are you kidding me? Why stop there, I should be able to write in my own custom political argument on my plates. How bout "How did Tim Kaine get elected?".

    March 31, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Paul from Phoenix

    God forbid a politician doesn't vote along strict party lines. Can't wait to hear the far left go nuts over this.

    Extremism on either side of the isle is a detriment to this country!

    March 31, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Matthew, Detroit

    Great Job Governor Kaine. It is very nice to see someone stand up for what they believe in and what is right.
    I dont agree with the guy on many things but here is some commonality.

    March 31, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Now if he was fiscally conservative and believed in a strong Dept. of Defense I could consider voting for him for President but like John Breau of Louisiana the democratic party will never let him win the primary since he is not a leftist like Obama who I could never vote for after hearing his speeches during the primary about gutting the military.

    March 31, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Brian Crooks

    I'm deeply disappointed.

    March 31, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. RH

    A politician setting policies based on his own religious sensibilities is completely indefensible. No one has the right to dictate to others in this way. I am sorely disappointed in Kaine.

    March 31, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. R in Maine

    I guess he lied long enough to get his positiion, now let's see him try to keep it.

    March 31, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. arithmetic is liberal

    Kaine's support for the legislation is not surprising: He is a staunch Catholic who has long opposed using taxpayer money for embryonic stem cell research. But the platform of the Democratic Party, now headed by Kaine at Obama's behest, describes embryonic stem cell research as "research that could save lives."

    And this is, in a nutshell, what separates the DNC from the RNC.
    Yes We Can have divergent view points.
    And no I do NOT agree with the Virginia Governor.

    March 31, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. AndyL

    He's not falling in line with the Messiah? He must be destroyed. Time to bring the DNC billboard car back from the Florida attacks on Limbaugh and rework it to attack this false democrat.

    March 31, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Voter that see's through fox news Bull

    noooooooooooooo, that's really sad he seemed like such a great guy. I'm really disheartened by this and am a strong supporter of stem cell research. I can only hope they vote him out of office for someone who supports stem cell research because of it's importance to human live's and those suffering with desease's that this offers a promise hope for a cure.

    March 31, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Joe the Troll

    Sounds like this guy should have Steele's job.

    March 31, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Michelle

    January? This is ridiculous. Mr. Kaine was a poor choice for party chairman and should step down. I feel that there is definitely room for lots of dissenting ideas within the Democratic Party. However, if you feel morally opposed to aspects of the party agenda, why are you leading it?

    March 31, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. JMcC

    Tim Kane has never made it a secret that he is opposed to abortion so this is no surprise. It is not the "Pro Choice" view of the democratic party, but as a governor he is doing what he thinks is right. I have no problem with it and it just shows that everything isn't black and white with either party. America is a vast and diverse nation and both parties need to realize this.

    March 31, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. Kevin in Ohio

    A democrat I can agree with. Kaine does not disagree that embryonic stem cell research is important...... what he disagrees with is taxpayer funding of it. HALF of all taxpayers prefer not to use their dollars this way. Bravo for standing up to the dictator!

    March 31, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Washington Insider

    Funny, nobody posted any comments on this one, but I saw all the hateful rhetoric about the young congressman. I guess, nobody is interested in the issues within the Democratic Party with the infighting we have, as long as we can take cheap popshots at Republicans.

    Or, either CNN is not moderating or posting any comments for this one. Interesting...either way, it is nice to see some people (VA Governor) standing up to the POTUS and speaking his mind.

    No wait for all the hateful liberals to chime in with their "Go Away Kaine" or other non-rational posts about "Shut Up Kaine." It really annoys me that so many people are so in love with Obama that get outraged when people speak their opinions and voice that may not coincide with their own...sad state of affairs.

    March 31, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. JDP

    Many thanks to Gov. Tim Kaine for standing on moral principle regardless of political party.

    March 31, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This shows to me that the Democrats are willing to accept people who have a wide range of views on controversal issues. I don't hear fellow Democrats shouting him down. I am sure that if a Republican governor were to allow this kind of research, the other members of the GOP leadership (Limbaugh, Coulter and others) would call this guy a baby killer or some other nasty phrase.

    March 31, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. me

    As much as I disagree with Kaine, I have to marvel at the concept of a man sticking to his beliefs and his party not only not throwing him under the bus, but giving him a place of authority.

    Again, I think his position is founded out of ignorance and a complete disregard for anybody else thatis not like him (republican traits), but it is HIS opinion.

    Take note conservative crazies...

    March 31, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Peggy

    Finally, a man that is true to his beliefs and not afraid to show it. A real man. We have so few of those in this country.

    March 31, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Independent

    If he was a repub they would kick him out of the clan

    March 31, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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