Michael J. Fox Headlines Democratic Campaign Fundraiser

Michael J. Fox headlined a campaign fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, but his message was broader than one Senate race.

"Contrary to what (former House Speaker) Tip O'Neil said, politics is not local," Fox told McCaskill supporters Thursday at a restaurant in this St. Louis suburb. "What happens here does affect my three girls, my son, my wife and me, and the 100 million Americans living with a disease that could be helped by stem cell research."

The actor, who has Parkinson's disease, is a strong advocate of embryonic stem cell research. McCaskill has made support for the research a key part of her campaign to unseat stem-cell research opponent Republican Sen. Jim Talent on November 7, when American voters will choose a new Congress and governors in 36 states.

Missouri voters also will consider a ballot initiative that would ensure all federally allowed embryonic stem cell research could occur in Missouri. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, now the largest funder of Parkinson's research outside the federal government, supports the initiative.

Fox, who trembled as he spoke, said the disease has diminished some choices in his life. But "if I take time to live with that loss, there's no vacuum. It's filled with opportunity."

"I'd love to have a cure, but there's a lot of life in the fight," he said.