Friday, May 27, 2005

Frist Press Release Mysteriously Missing

Quick followup to this post from last night. I noticed on the Tennessee Right to Life page where they take issue with Bill Frist's July 18, 2001 Senate floor speech in support of stem cell research that they include the text of a "Frist Press Release" of that date, which begins "U.S. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) made the following statement today after he announced his intention to support federal funding, with strict conditions, for stem cell research" - one of those strict conditions, as I noted, was "Allow federal funding for research using only those embryonic stem cells derived from blastocysts that are left over after in vitro fertilization (IVF) and would otherwise be discarded."

So then I got thinking - well, the press release should be somewhere on the Senator's web page, since they usually archive such things. And sure enough, Frist does, with his press releases, speeches and other statements viewable by month and year. But most interestingly, that July 18, 2001 press release cited by Tennessee Right to Life (and others) does not appear: as you can see here, the release dates go directly from July 15 to July 19. Also interesting is the July 15 press release "Frist Announces Support for Stem Cell Research", dated three days prior (and on a Sunday) to Frist's testimony before a congressional committee at which he announced his support for federal funding (as covered in this Chicago Tribune article as well as this CNN story). In fact, a July 15 Washington Post article [linked here] notes that as of that date, "Frist's spokeswoman said the senator was not ready to discuss his views."

A misdated press release, half of which is missing. Worth some checking out. I'm going to dig around a little on this story today, so stay tuned, there may be more to come.

[Update: Another article covering Frist's former position on stem cells, this from USA Today. And this National Review story from July 20, 2001, which covers Frist's announced "principles" on embryonic stem cell research from two days prior, asks at its end "Who is the real Bill Frist?" That's exactly what I'd like to know. -- 8:21 a.m.]

[Update: Here's a screen grab of Senator Frist's homepage from August 16, 2001. If you click on the July 18 headline under Recent News "Frist Announces Support for Stem Cell Research," you get this, the original press release (note the date) and a link to this page, the "strict new standards" proposed by Frist. -- 9:21 a.m.]

[Update: Just spoke with three different staffers at Senator Frist's D.C. office. None of them could tell me whether Frist has taken a position on S. 471, although the third (apparently a health legislative aide) said she thought he had not yet taken a position. I asked if he had changed his mind since 2001, and she said she'd have to take my information and get back to me. Bets on whether she does? -- 9:32 a.m.]

[Update: Shockingly, no response from Frist's office all afternoon today. Anybody surprised? -- 4:30 p.m.]

[Update: Another update here. -- 31 May, 9:10 a.m.]


At 11:45 AM, Blogger EG said...

"I asked if he had changed his mind since 2001, and she said she'd have to take my information and get back to me."

Holy Cow, Batman! Government employees cannot tell the truth. Those fiends!

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Elmo said...

WOW! Great post JBD. Keep up the good work.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

So no "up-or-down vote" on stem cell research then?


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