This partial transcript of Fox News Sunday, August 12, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
TONY SNOW, HOST: And joining us now to discuss President Bush's decision on stem cell research is White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Mr. Card, let's begin by taking a quick look at some of the key elements of the president's decision on embryonic stem cell research.
First, federal funds will be provided for existing human embryonic stem cell lines, adult and animal stem cells and umbilical cord and placenta stem cells derived from them. There will be no federal funds for harvesting stem cells from existing unused human embryos, no money for purchasing sperm and eggs to create embryos for the sole purpose of stem cell harvesting or using experimental cloning techniques to yield stem cells.
Let's go back to the basics here. The president talks about trying not to cross fundamental moral lines. He believes that embryos are a form of human life, correct?
ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He does, yes, absolutely he does.
SNOW: If human embryos are a form of life, why is it legitimate to do experiments with destroyed forms of human life which are those existing embryonic stem cell lines?
CARD: Well, understand that the stem cell lines that the president has said federal funds can be used to research were created before August 9, so the life and death decisions of those embryos had already been made. In fact, they were made long before the president became president. And the research has been going on in the private sector.
The president has said that he does not want to destroy anymore embryos for the purpose of stem cell research using federal funds. Instead, he says we should use federal funds just to research those lines that are already existing. There are over 60 lines around the world, over 30 lines in the United States. We think that's more than enough.
And I think that he has found the right solution to this great debate between science and ethics.
SNOW: OK, again, trying to make sure that we don't cross the line, would the president support a ban on private harvesting of embryos for stem cell research?
CARD: Well, you know the in vitro fertilization process has gone on in the United States for a long time now without any government regulation. What you're suggesting is that there maybe should be regulation in the in vitro fertilization process.
And the president does not favor federal funds being used to create embryos for the purpose of stem cell research, destroy embryos for the purpose of stem cell research, and he does not want to see any cloning techniques done by federal resources.
SNOW: All right, but the fundamental moral question is that he believes he is dealing with murder here. On the other hand, he doesn't want federal funds to be used for it, but he seems to be comfortable with the idea that maybe private researchers will be using their own money to destroy embryos. Does that not give him pause?
CARD: I think -- I wish you hadn't used the word "comfortable." He is not comfortable. He does not like the destruction of life. He is a great believe in the sanctity of life, and I watched him agonize as he went through this decision process. He read, literally, thousands of pages of documents, and he met with lots of different people. He was a quiet, contemplative decision-maker when it came to this thing.
He understands the challenges of ethics and morality, and he also understands the hope that can come from science. And I think that he found the right solution in the great debate.
SNOW: But I'm still trying to get at this whole notion of the possibility that somebody in the private sector will be destroying embryos. Would he support an overall ban on the destruction of embryos for medical purposes?
CARD: I don't think that he likes to see embryos be destroyed under any circumstances, and that was clearly...
SNOW: So if somebody came, if somebody presented him with a bill that would ban it, then he would sign it?
CARD: I suspect if Congress were to pass a ban, he would sign it. Understand though, we Republicans are generally not in favor of more regulation. And we've had the in vitro fertilization process going on for a long time in the United States without regulation. I'm not sure that we're ready to open the door to move in and regulate how people are finding life for themselves.
SNOW: But didn't Congress in the mid-'90s actually ban the use of embryos for medical research?
CARD: They did ban it in terms of funding, the so-called Dickey Amendment. So yes, that funding ran fiscal year to fiscal year. So what the president has said, during the next fiscal year, he would favor stem cell research on preexisting lines, but no destruction of any embryo for those steps or lines.
SNOW: A lot of people have been advocating very strenuously the open- ended use of embryonic stem cell research, saying that it has enormous promise.
Let's take a look at Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and something he had to say about it. Senator Daschle said, "There will be concern about the limits the president has proposed on this research." Continuing, he said, "specifically that the existing stem cell lines could be inadequate to realize its potential life-saving benefits." Here's the key quote, "The Senate will want to take action."
If the Senate comes to the president, if Congress puts on the president's desk a bill that says "We want to expand embryonic stem cell research beyond what you've done," would he veto it?
CARD: I suspect he would, but I don't think that there will be legislation that will reach the president's desk that says what you suggested, because the president has found the right solution.
Again, there are more than 70 stem cell lines around the world. We know that there are more than 30 in the United States. The National Institutes of Health has told the president and others that we believe there are plenty of lines, more than enough to do this research.
We've been doing or the world has been doing stem cell research on mice for a very, very long time. Now over 90 percent of the research on stem cells for mice is done from existing stem cell lines.
So we think there's more than enough lines for this embryonic stem cell research to go forward.
SNOW: Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Weekly Standard this week argues that a lot of proponents of embryonic stem cell research and stem cell research generally are overselling the case. They're giving the impression that if the president were not to approve other funding, it would be throwing away cures to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and so on.
Let me read you a quote from Mr. Krauthammer. He says, "The cynical appeal to curing grandma is raw exploitation of misery."
CARD: I think we have to be very careful. There is great hope that comes from the science and research around stem cells, but we also remember that there were people that were arguing that fetal tissue research was going to find great breakthroughs five, 10, 15 years ago. And we haven't seen those breakthroughs.
We have to be cautious as we move forward, but we should be excited about the work that can be done. But there are no quick solutions to some of the many diseases that are out there, and we want to see meaningful research. By opening the doors for federal funds to be used on these stem cell lines, more scientists from the world will be able to find solutions or to see which solutions may not be solutions in fact.
But this is one step. It's a giant step toward hope, but I'm not sure that this is the hope.
SNOW: If this is so promising, why is the White House only prepared to spend a little more than $250 million on it? Why not spend several billion dollars and really try to probe the full promise of all forms of stem cells?
CARD: Well, this is only one piece of research that can be done to find solutions to our problems in health. The president has more than doubled the budget for NIH. We think the amount of money that is allocated for stem cell research is a tremendous head start and will provide great momentum. But let's see where we go with this research. And I'm optimistic that the president has found the right solution.
SNOW: Now there are literally millions of stem cell lines available right now through bone marrow adult stem cells, through placenta, through cord blood. The Cord Blood Registry has at least 30,000 lines. You're talking about only 60 right now with embryonic stem cells.
How is that money going to be divided up, the $250 million? Is most of it going to go to those other forms of stem cells?
CARD: Researchers will make applications to the NIH. The NIH will consider those applications, and they will enter into agreements with the research laboratories and the people who own these stem cell lines or the institutions that own these stem cell lines, and I'm sure that there will be a deliberate effort on the part of NIH to consider the value of the research that they would be funding. And that's the way it should be done.
This should not be a political decision or a patronage decision. This should be based on the expectation of scientists and performance.
SNOW: This has got to be a personal issue for you. Your father died of Alzheimer's, your mother suffers...
CARD: It's the other way around. My mother had Alzheimer's; my father had Parkinson's.
SNOW: ... your father had Parkinson's.
SNOW: When all of this is being discussed, do you sit there and ask yourself, "What if?"
CARD: Well, I don't think I'm alone in America. I think many people who are my age who are dealing with parents who are suffering with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, you know, are hopeful that there will be solutions to these diseases. But I'm also one who recognizes that the president has to make this decision.
CARD: And I counseled the president quietly to make sure that he had objective information. I did not try to bias his opinion. In fact, I will not tell how I counseled the president. I just made sure that he had lots of information from people who had different views so that he was not presented with one bias.
SNOW: What has he told the Vatican?
CARD: Since he made the decision, I'm not aware there has been any communication with the Vatican. As you know, when the president did meet with the Pope, the Pope made a statement about research on embryos. And I think that the solution that the president announced to the United States is not inconsistent with the views that the Pope expressed.
You know, this is a very, very challenging issue. We have found solutions to other diseases by using, for example, fetal tissue. Smallpox and chicken pox, their solutions in society were found by using research from fetal issue. So, even the Catholic church has had to deal with these ethical dilemmas in the past.
SNOW: All right. Mr. Card, stay with us. We're going to take a break. When we return, Brit Hume is going to join us as we continue our conversation about the president's busy vacation with the White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We're getting a lot done. You don't have to be in Washington to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: We're back with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Joining us now, Brit Hume, Washington Managing Editor of Fox News -- Brit.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS: Mr. Card, talk to us a little bit about the Middle East and where the administration actually stands. Does the administration believe that this current mess in the Middle East is a result of sort of mutually escalating tensions in which both sides play an equal part, or does the administration believe that there's a good guy and a bad buy in this struggle?
CARD: Well, first of all, we've got to see the level of violence drop, and we want to get to the Mitchell plan so that it can be implemented, but it cannot be implemented if there's this much violence on both sides. I have to...
HUME: Let me just stop you right there. Do you believe that the level of violence or that the responsibility for the level of violence rests equally with both sides, or do you believe that there's been a serious provocation by one side or the other, and if so, who?
CARD: Well, I am concerned that these terrorists who bomb are creating a climate of insecurity in Israel, so I think the Palestinians have a responsibility to reduce the level of violence that is conducted by these bombers, these suicide bombers, and that is clearly uncomforting and unsettling to the Israelis who are looking for security. But both parties have to reduce the level of violence.
HUME: Well, now let's assume that you believe that these terrorists bombings were carried out by Palestinians are the key cause here. Israel retaliates and retaliates against what it regards as military targets. Why is such retaliation, in the face of these terrorist attacks, not justified -- if you believe it is not?
CARD: Well, the important thing is to reduce the level of violence so that the peace process, which doesn't exist today, can some how find a way to get back on track, and the road to that process will come from through the Mitchell plan.
I think all parties have got to step back, recognize responsibility and reduce the level of violence.
HUME: What about -- the Israelis have taken over this building called Orient House. It used to be a Palestinian headquarters, thought to have some critical symbolic value, though it's not entirely clear why. Secretary of State Powell referred to that as a political escalation. Do you believe, and does the president believe, that that is a escalation and that the Israelis should immediately surrender its control of that?
CARD: Well, I do believe that it was a political escalation, but I'll let Secretary Powell and Dr. Condoleezza Rice manage the diplomacy that is challenged here between the parties. And, you know, the president has been very, very engaged in this whole Middle East process for a long time. Secretary Powell has committed untold number of hours to try to help the parties recognize a responsible course of action. And it's being well coordinated by Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
SNOW: Mr. Card, let's take another cut at Orient House. Do you think if Israel returned it to Palestinian control, that that would be something that would reduce the level of violence, which is the end you seek?
CARD: Well, I don't think that the political escalation is as constructive as it should be, and I'd like to find an opportunity for a dialogue to exist between the Israelis and the Palestinians and I think it will be hard for that dialog to exist with the Orient House basically kept unoccupied by any Palestinian organization.
SNOW: Within the last couple of hours, the Arab League has announced it's going to hold an emergency meeting. Yasser Arafat obviously is going to come plea for, among other things, it's expected to have Egyptian troops enter the Sinai Peninsula and other forms of military support. But first, will the administration be sending an observer to that meeting?
CARD: I don't know yet. I just learned about the meeting just before going on the air, but I know that -- I expect that there will be a lot more public relations being played by both sides over the course of the next several days.
SNOW: Second question. If Egypt were to send military troops into the Sinai, which would be a violation of the Camp David accords, but which Egypt would argue would be in response to its own view that Israel's violated those same accords. What would the administration's response be?
CARD: Well, first of all, we have troops that have been in the Sinai for a long time to kind of keep an eye on what is happening, and we want to hear from some of our people on the ground and talk with the Defense Department who coordinates the activities of those troops.
SNOW: Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle delivered a wide ranging speech on foreign policy. The one theme is: He doesn't like yours. Let me give you a quote from that, actually let's look at a piece of tape and get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: In just six months, the administration has demonstrated a willingness to walk away from agreements that were embraced by many of our closest friends and allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: Have we walked away from such agreements?
CARD: We've said that Kyoto was a flawed policy, a flawed treaty. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, just last week or the week before last, said that it was a flawed treaty and would never be ratified. I think there is broad recognition that the Kyoto protocol would not be good for the United States. With regard to the ABM Treaty, we know that it was a relic of the past -- 1972. The world has changed. The parties to that agreement aren't even the same parties anymore.
CARD: But, we're going to take a look at the ABM Treaty because we have to deal with the threats of the 21st century, where that dealt with the threats of the 20th century.
SNOW: Isn't it a fact that if you get an agreement with the Russians on this, and you suspect you will, that it's kind of game set at match? It doesn't matter if Tom Daschle doesn't like it or European heads of state don't like it, that's pretty much undermined any significant opposition to the treaty?
CARD: Well, I think the president is the spokesperson for the United States and foreign policy. And it continues to be the case. And the president will do a good job.
I do want to point out that when Senator Daschle, when he talked about these treaties, we have a treaty with Mexico and Canada -- the North American Free Trade Agreement. And that calls for Mexican trucks to have access to the United States market. And he has not been a big proponent of allowing those trucks to have access to the market. We think that it is responsible under the provisions of that trade agreement to have those trucks here. And also Senator Daschle has not done anything to help us bring trade promotion authority to the floor of the Senate so that we can get some tree trade agreements going that are very important.
SNOW: Do you have any reason to believe he is going to help you on any of those at any time in the near future?
CARD: Well, I hope he is a patriot for America first rather than a partisan. And I hope that he will do that.
HUME: What you said about that trucking measure that effects Mexican trucks in the United States, does that mean that the president's veto threat on that legislation still stands if it contains a restrictive clause affecting Mexican trucks?
CARD: Yes, you are right. The president has said he would not sign that transportation appropriation bill if it includes provisions that would violate the North American Free Trade Agreement and allow Mexican trucks to have access to the U.S. markets, understanding that those trucks have to comply with safety standards.
HUME: Senator Leahy and others have contended, Senator Leahy on this broadcast, that this is really simply about making Mexican trucks safe. He and others who said they don't want Mexican trucks rolling down U.S. highways who don't have adequate brakes. And this is really simply a matter of safety. Is that the case?
CARD: Well, we'd like to see safe trucks on America's highways. We are confident that Mexican trucks who do long halls will be safe. We have Canadian trucks coming into the United States. No one has said that the Canadian trucks are unsafe. We think that there are responsible government leaders on both sides of the border -- Mexico and the United States -- that will make sure that the trucks who do have access to our market comply with the safety standards.
HUME: Well, apart from your confidence in the responsibility of leaders, Mr. Card, isn't it the case that there need to be and perhaps are safety tests and safety checks that need to be met by both Mexican and Canadian trucks?
CARD: There are. And I think that those tests can be met by the Mexicans as well.
HUME: And if they're not, they don't roll, correct?
CARD: That's correct. If you have an unsafe U.S. truck on U.S. highways, it is supposed to get off the road.
SNOW: Has the administration reached a final decision on whether and under which conditions to grant permanent resident status to Mexican residents who have come here to work and have stayed?
CARD: We are working on that issue right now. Secretary of the State Powell met with the Mexican foreign minister to talk about that just last week. We think that where there are willing employers and willing employees matched up, there should be a road toward, I'm going to say, permanent worker status in the United States.
SNOW: So, in other words, if they have a job and an employer, they should be able to stay?
CARD: We think that they should be able to stay and gain access to a so-called green card.
HUME: Let me ask you about a decision the Justice Department made at the very end of the week to file a brief, in what's called the (inaudible) case, which is a case that's been before the Supreme Court before. It's about a Department of Transportation program supposedly to help disadvantaged minority businesses.
Now, this was widely interpreted as a switch, a flip-flop by some, by the administration on the issue of this kind of anti- discrimination provision on and regarded as itself a form of racial discrimination. Why should it not so be viewed?
CARD: This case goes all the way back to the 1990's. And it was first heard by the Supreme Court in I think in 1995. And the Supreme Court then said the Department of Transportation issued more strict regulations than had been written, tighter regulations. The Department of Transportation changed its regulations and the case has come back up to the Supreme Court. What the United States government did was say we believe the actions of the department of transportation are constitutional and that these so-called set aside programs comply with the Constitution.
HUME: Well, why is that not a reversal of what the president said during his campaign at other times that he does not favor these kinds of discriminatory programs, these kinds of special benefits?
CARD: Well, these are construction projects that are funded under the Department of Transportation, the highway transportation efforts. And they do set aside contracts to be bid upon by minority businesses. And we have confidence that the Department of Transportation has exercised its constitutional responsibility and that's what the Solicitor General will be arguing before the Supreme Court.
SNOW: Mr. Card, I want to double back to stem cell research one last time. In another venue today you said that if additional stem cell lines showed some promise, the president might have some flexibility in terms of the regulations.
Does that mean...
CARD: I don't think that's what I said...
SNOW: OK, that's why I want to get it clarified.
CARD: We think that the president offered the right solution for stem cell research and...
SNOW: So if somebody comes up with a stem cell line after August 9 and it shows promise, the administration is not going to be willing either to fund it or to use the results of that research?
CARD: I am confident that the solution the president came up with, which says fund existing stem cell lines, those that were in place prior to August 9, is the right thing to do .
SNOW: But no more?
CARD: But no more.
SNOW: All right, Andrew Card, thanks for joining us today.
CARD: Thank you.
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