One day after Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson compared embryonic stem cell research to Nazi medical experiments, White House domestic policy adviser Claude Allen appeared on Dobson's radio program and echoed Dobson's opposition to stem cell research without mentioning -- much less repudiating -- his reference to Nazi atrocities.
Allen also echoed Dobson's attack on Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), which continued for a second day in a row. Frist announced on July 29 that he now supports expanding federal funding for embryonic stem cell research beyond the restrictions currently imposed by the Bush administration.
From the August 4 edition of the Focus on the Family radio program:
DOBSON: I want to devote today's program to a subject that, as you know, is very close to my heart, having to do with embryonic stem cell research and, specifically, that which destroys tiny human life. We discussed that subject yesterday with reference to Senator Bill Frist and several of his Republican colleagues, who have shifted their views from a decidedly pro-life perspective to a more utilitarian position, and we regret that abandonment of what we consider the ethical and moral stance.
The day before, on August 3, Dobson said on the program:
In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind. You know, if you take a utilitarian approach, that if something results in good, then it is good. But that's obviously not true.
Dobson's August 3 comments, which Media Matters for America first noted, produced outrage among such groups as the Anti-Defamation League, which demanded an apology from Dobson. Notwithstanding Dobson's comments, the White House sent Allen to appear on the August 4 broadcast, during which he echoed Dobson's criticisms of Frist but said nothing about Dobson's Nazi comparison.
Dobson introduced Allen with profuse praise. "I just said how much I love and appreciate you, and it comes directly from my heart," Dobson told Allen. Allen responded in kind, declaring, "It is such a privilege to be on your program. You too have been just dear to me and my family, and so we're very grateful for that. And thank you for your leadership on so many issues that are important to the family and our nation."
Dobson reiterated his attack on Frist. "Last week, Senator Frist decided that he would be in favor of taking those embryos and allowing them for experimentation," Dobson said. "To our mind, he has bailed out. ... That is so sad because those babies are available for other infertile parents out there that really need a helping hand."
Referring directly to Frist, Allen echoed Dobson's comments. "I think that's absolutely right," Allen said. "First off all, I'd say with regards to Senator Frist, it certainly is disappointing to hear when any political leader expresses the view that government should encourage the destruction of human embryos, for the very reason that we're talking about. Simply because someone says that this embryo is unwanted, it doesn't make that embryo unworthy of life or unworthy of protection." Allen added: "It's even more concerning when we say that government, that our tax dollars should be used to destroy those lives. And so we're very concerned."
Dobson then homed in on Nancy Reagan, wife of the late President Ronald Reagan, and their son Ron Reagan, who are outspoken supporters of embryonic stem cell research. "Claude, I have watched from a distance how firmly President Bush has approached this subject and how uncompromising he has been. He's under tremendous pressure from the media, from the Nancy Reagans of the world and the Ron Reagans of the world and from, now, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House."
Ignoring Dobson's criticism of the Reagans, Allen stated, "The president has been very clear about the principle that the needs to govern, you know, to govern funding over embryonic stem cell research need to be very clear and need to be very decisive, and we don't need to waver on this."