The Bush administration has gone to great lengths, absurd lengths even, to take advantage of the stem-cell debate and cast the chief executive as a philosopher king, a deep-dish thinker who has spent untold hours discussing the matter with leading ethicists and scientists, wrestling with his conscience and studiously ignoring the polls. The fruit of this heroic rumination came to light during his first unscripted discussion of the topic, an interview with 2020s Claire Shipman, which allowed the president to display his impressive mastery of the issue: Perhaps I should explain what a stem-cell line is. Stem-cell line exists after a stem cell has been removed from the embryo and therefore destroying the embryo. That decision has already been made.
Days later, in an impromptu chat with reporters, Bush was obviously relieved to be back on the terra firma of international relations. Discussing the violence in the Middle East, he sagaciously commented: First things first. These terrorist acts and the responses have got to end in order for us to get the framework -- the groundwork, not framework -- the groundwork to discuss a framework, to lay the -- all right.