Appearing grimly unsteady from his long bout with Parkinson’s disease, actor Michael J. Fox is inserting his halting voice into the campaign for the U.S. Senate in a new television commercial about the importance of stem cell research.
The ad, endorsing Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin in his race against Republican Michael S. Steele, bears witness to the actor’s unmistakable decline and harnesses that physical degeneration into a political message.
“Stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans with diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Fox says, seated in a dimly lit hotel room, staring directly into the camera. “But George Bush and Michael Steele would put limits on the most promising stem cell research.”
Coming, as it has, just two weeks before Election Day, the commercial could serve as Cardin’s antidote to the much-discussed advertising campaign launched by Steele, political analysts said yesterday.
Steele and Talent aren’t the only Republicans who will have to counter the sure-to-follow attacks that they ‘don’t care’ and/or are too beholden to the ‘religious right’ to help sick people:
In addition to the Cardin ad, Fox filmed 30-second spots for Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who is seeking to unseat Republican James M. Talent, and for Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D), who is seeking reelection. He has also made plans to appear at events for two Democrats, Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Tammy Duckworth, a candidate for Congress from Illinois.
That uphill battle to retain control of Congress just got steeper. The last poll between Steele and Cardin showed a neck and neck tie. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, the Fox ad will have on the Steele/Cardin race, and for that matter, what effect it will have on the McCaskill/Talent race. The latest poll in that race shows McCaskill with a three point lead, but that poll was taken before the Fox ad ran in Missouri.