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Crist caves on stem cell research

During his campaign for governor, Charlie Crist made news when he said he disagreed with President Bush's decision to veto federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Many scientists believe the research may find cures for Parkinson's, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

But at a seminar sponsored by the Associated Press today, Crist said he would recommend $20 million for research on existing stem cell lines, not on new ones cultivated from human embryos. He made it clear that he had received strong signals that the Republican-led Legislature, particularly the more conservative House, would not accept anything else.

"I'm pragmatic,'' he said. "I want to be respectful of concerns that (lawmakers) might have, but I also want to make progress."

Crist's decision flies in the face of polls that show that most Floridians support embryonic stem cell research. Crist will officially announce his stem cell plans later today at the University of South Florida's Center for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa.