Like his father before him, George W. Bush became president on the power of his promises and the strength of his character. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss points out in his splendid volume "Character Above All" that the elder Bush "based his three campaigns for the presidency less on issues and ideology than on his persona as a leader of experience and character."

A president's character is demonstrated in numerous ways--from his allegiance to his oath of office, to his personal deportment, to his foreign policy. Nowhere is the character of a president more evident than in fidelity to his promises.

During the 1988 presidential campaign, the elder Bush made what many observers believe was a politically fatal blunder. The Pacific war hero, the former ambassador to the UN, the man who held two of his country's highest offices, said during his nomination acceptance speech, "My opponent won't rule out raising taxes, but I will. And Congress will push me to raise taxes, and I'll say no, and they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again. And I'll say to them: Read my lips. No new taxes."

Of course, we know what happened--new taxes. Not a few pundits think that the elder Bush lost the 1992 presidential campaign because of the power of a broken promise, a broken promise now etched in history.

Proving that the apple did not fall far from the tree, George W. Bush was elected by the American people because many saw in him strength of character. Americans have been anxious for a White House that would not embarrass them by its flagrant abuse of the power of office and its tawdry secrets of sex and scandal.

Based on his record and his campaign promises, President Bush may be the most pro-life president of my lifetime. He has thus far demonstrated forthright resolve to respect the dignity of human life by working to protect nascent human lives. He has been stalwart in his defense of the unborn.

Now the true test of character. Will he keep his promises? During his campaign, President Bush said he opposed federal funding for research that would result in the destruction of human embryos. Months after his inauguration, on May 18, President Bush sent a letter to Robert A. Best of the Culture of Life Foundation, stating, "I oppose federal funding for stem cell research that involves destroying living human embryos. I support innovative medical research on life-threatening and debilitating diseases, including promising research on stem cells from adult tissue."

Stem Cell Debate

  • The Surprising Politics of Stem Cell Research:
    Analysis of the ABCNews/Beliefnet poll

  • Results of the Poll
  • A Stem Cell Primer
  • Where Do Embryos Come From? Asking the right questions
  • Why Pro-Lifers Are Anti-Stem Cell Research By Gary Bauer
  • Adult Stem Cells Could they be the obvious answer? By Gregg Easterbrook
  • Religious Leaders Weigh In
  • Stem Cell Debate

  • The Surprising Politics of Stem Cell Research:
    Analysis of the ABCNews/Beliefnet poll