WASHINGTON – White House press secretary Tony Snow apologized on Monday for suggesting that President Bush believed stem-cell research amounted to "murder," saying he was "overstating the president's position."
"He would not use that term," Snow told reporters.
At issue was Snow's comment last Wednesday defending Bush's veto of legislation to expand federally financed research on stem cells obtained from unwanted embryos.
"The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it's inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He's one of them," Snow said at the time.
Snow said Monday that the president remains opposed to using federal funds for such research because it involves "a destruction of human life."
Snow's characterization became an issue on Sunday for White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, who struggled on NBC's "Meet the Press" to answer whether Bush agreed with his spokesman that destruction of unwanted fertilized embryos was tantamount to murder?
"The president thinks that that embryo, that fertilized embryo, is a human life that deserves protection," Bolten said. "I haven't spoken to him about the use of particular terminology," Bolten said.
Said Snow on Monday: "I overstepped my brief there, and so I created a little trouble for Josh Bolten in the interview. And I feel bad about it."
Bush's veto of the stem-cell bill was sustained by the House.