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McCollum disputes Scott's stem cell claim

McC E Stem pg 2 001 Bill McCollum's campaign is crying foul over primary rival Rick Scott's new mailer on embryonic stem cell research (pictured). The mailer reads, "Bill McCollum holds the same position on this issue as Barack Obama, who recently lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research."

McCollum spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said, "To assert that they’re in the same place on this is just absurd.” Campbell said McCollum supports embryonic stem cell research only "as an alternative to destruction," such as when embryos are created for in vitro fertilization and are no longer needed.

In 2004, the National Right to Life endorsed Mel Martinez over McCollum in the U.S. Senate race, pointing to this issue. A Times article at the time paraphrased McCollum's position as supporting "expanded stem cell research," but does not quote the candidate directly.

Scott spokeswoman Jennifer Baker says McCollum is “parsing his words and trying to have it both ways. What’s absurd is the fact that Bill McCollum is trying to change his position. The fact is he supported embryonic stem cell research then and he supports it now.”

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