Sen. John Kerry makes a campaign stop outside the Metrodome

Kerry rallied supporters and took shots at President George W. Bush on Thursday.

by Stephanie Kudrle

The country needs to use the University’s incredible scientific network to further stem cell research, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry told a crowd of approximately 30,000 people gathered Thursday in the cold outside the Metrodome.

Kerry rallied his supporters and took shots at President George W. Bush while the crowd shivered and yelled, “hope is on the way.”

Kerry said it is wrong to let personal beliefs stand in the way of scientific research.

“I intend to be a president who believes in science,” Kerry said. “President Bush has cut scientific research because of ideology.”

The idea that Bush wouldn’t fund stem cell research is kind of funny, said Tony Richter, College Republicans vice chairman. He said Bush was the first president to put federal funding toward stem cell research.

The president only opposes opening new lines of embryonic stem cells, he said, which often come from unused fertility fetuses.

“Kerry doesn’t have a whole lot to stand on there,” he said.

Kerry also touched on terrorism, the war in Iraq, the economy and health care.

Although it was a chilly night, supporters lined up around the Metrodome for a chance to see Kerry speak. The fire marshal estimated that approximately 30,000 people attended the event.

University alumnus Neal Margolies said he didn’t mind waiting in the cold.

“I’d wait in the blizzard to get Bush out of office,” he said.

Busloads of students were at the event. Kerry said college students deserve a $4,000 tax credit to help pay for college tuition that has increased under Bush.

Kerry used a good mix of Bush-bashing and laying out his agenda, first-year student Adam Engelman said.

“I like how he rallied the crowd,” he said. “He tried to

motivate everyone to get out and vote.”

First-year student Barrett Goetz said Kerry would be a really strong leader. It was touching the way Kerry talked about actor Christopher Reeve and the need for stem cell research, he said.

“We need to advance technology to help find cures,” he said.

Kerry also attacked Bush’s record on terrorism and the economy. He said the country needs a strong leader.

The average family income has dropped under the Bush administration, Kerry said, and is the lowest it’s been since 1929.

“You deserve a president who understands the working family,” he said. “This administration has it absolutely backwards.”

Tens of thousands of jobs in Minnesota have also been lost under Bush, Kerry said.

But, Richter said, jobs have actually been created under Bush and the economy is growing stronger.

He said people have to be willing to work hard and get an education that will help them succeed.

“I’ve had to work several jobs, and it’s a struggle for me,” Richter said. “But I’m willing to do that.”

Sophomore Sarah Sehm said she was glad Kerry talked about the economy and jobs. People should get involved in this election and know what they are

voting for, she said.