Michael J. Fox appears at rally for Democrat Tammy Duckworth
October 24, 2006 (WHEATON, Ill.) (WLS) -- One candidate is hoping star power will translate into votes on Election Day in the 6th Congressional District in Illinois. It's a key race in the fight to control Congress in the next election. Democrat Tammy Duckworth and Republican Peter Roskam are trying to win the seat being vacated by Henry Hyde.
This congressional race is being watched internationally. Two presidents have campaigned in the 6th District and an enormous amount of money is being spent. Tuesday, it was the complex issue of embryonic stem cell research that brought star power to the campaign trail.
Democrat Tammy Duckworth got a campaign visit Tuesday from actor Michael J. Fox. Fifteen years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He has actively championed embryonic stem cell research and has campaigned for candidates who feel the same, including a tight Senate fight in Missouri.
"What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans," Fox said in ad aired there.
Opponents, including conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh have claimed Fox has purposely avoided his medication or is acting out to "shill" for Democratic politician, an accusation Fox poked fun at Tuesday.
"It's ironic given some things that have been said in the last couple days that my pills are working really well right now," Fox said.
While the tight race between Duckworth and her Republican opponent Peter Roskam may be defined more by the war and the economy, embryonic stem cell research is a highly passionate issue. Duckworth says she is in favor of lifting federal restrictions on it.
"Many politicians today see the stem cell issue as the battleground of ideology instead of an all out fight to save lives," said Duckworth.
"We need to claim this and to say, yes, we have the researchers, the scientists, technology and know how, we have the spirit. If America doesn't do this, who's gonna do it?" said Michael J. Fox, actor and activist.
With a cancer survivor Tuesday, Peter Roskam argued that besides the moral questions raised by embryonic research, it is the use of adult stem cells that is the wise, proven course and that is where medicine should state.
"What is the highest and best use of money in tight financial times? I argue the highest and best use is that which has yielded 72 treatments to known diseases versus something that has yielded nothing," said Roskam.
Roskam also said Duckworth supports human cloning, something she says is untrue.
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