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Liberal Group Targeting Sununu on Stem Cells

Americans United for Change, a liberal advocacy group, is readying to pin the success of Congress’ effort to expand stem-cell research squarely on the shoulders of Sen. John Sununu (R).

Congress approved a measure to allow more federal funding for the research, but President Bush has promised to veto the bill. Democratic leaders are counting heads to see if they have enough votes — two-thirds of each chamber — to override Bush’s anticipated veto.

By Americans United’s count, the Senate has 66 “yes” votes, assuming that Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is back on the job. They want Granite State voters to know that Sununu, who is expected to have a tough re-election battle on his hands next year, may be lucky number 67.

In a radio ad that could air as soon as the day after Memorial Day, Americans United will equate Sununu’s opposition to the bill with preventing researchers from finding a cure for cancer and other diseases.

“He’s voted with President Bush time and again against stem-cell research — even supporting Bush’s veto of legislation last year that would have funded new research,” an announcer says, according to an advanced copy of the ad.

“Now the Senate is one vote away from overriding the president’s latest veto threat. One vote away from finding a cure for millions of Americans.”

Sununu is the lone member of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation to oppose the bill.

“We’re going to go guns blazing into New Hampshire on this issue,” said Brad Woodhouse, spokesman for Americans United for Change. “After what happened electorally in New Hampshire last year, it’s a bad time to be an island.”

Woodhouse was referring to Democrats’ surprising feat of flipping both of the Granite State’s House seats in last year’s midterm elections and taking over both chambers of the state Legislature.

Woodhouse said his group plans a telephone and e-mail campaign to accompany the radio spots and possibly a television ad, too. The group is in the process of hiring staff in New Hampshire as well.

“We hope he’ll get word of what we’re doing and hold a press conference and announce that he will vote for a veto override,” Woodhouse said, adding that Americans United would halt its campaign in such an event.
— Nicole Duran

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