Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver brought some star power to his push for expanded stem cell research, campaigning with actor Michael J. Fox at a noisy campaign rally on the Drake University campus.
Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has become a leader in efforts to expand stem cell research. He endorsed Culver's candidacy and bashed Culver's opponent, Republican Jim Nussle.
"These guys have sided with President Bush to stall research," Fox said.
Some scientists believe stem cell research could lead to cures for diseases such as Parkinson's. Congress passed a measure allowing expanded stem cell research, but it was vetoed by President Bush, who instead allowed research only on a limited number of stem cell lines.
"A majority of the House of Representatives and a majority of the United States Senate and 70 percent of the American people support expanding funding for stem cell research," Fox said.
More than 1,000 cheered on Fox at the rally, which also included Culver and Sen. Tom Harkin.
Fox's campaign stop was his latest campaign effort involving candidates who support expanded stem cell research. The actor has also made television commercials which are being used in some campaigns where stem cell research backers are facing opponents on the issue.
Those ads grabbed headlines last week when conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh accused Fox of stopping his medication so the symptom of the disease - pronounced twitching and trembling - would be exaggerated.
Fox took note of that criticism Monday, saying it simply redoubled his commitment.
"It was suggested that I not talk to anybody until my symptoms went away," said Fox. "They just want me to go away. We're not going anywhere. We're not going to go away until the diseases go away."
Culver echoed Fox's sentiments, and said he would like to expand stem cell efforts in Iowa. Culver says that if he is elected he will spend $10 million to create a Center for the Study of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Iowa.