Between the Words Counselings New Nonverbal Agenda

Palouse Area Continuing Education Committee Washington State University University of Idaho

Friday, December 1, 2000, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm Quality Inn, Pullman, Washington


I. What is Nonverbal?

A. Messages apart from words

B. The Nixon tape transcripts, e.g.

C. A couple of tools

II. What's New? Discoveries in the 1990-2000 Decade of the Brain

A. Our emotional brain evolved-and ballooned--too

B. Humans: The most emotional creatures on earth

C. Nonverbal cues show emotions that words alone hide

III. Let's explore our Nonverbal Body

A. On walkabout in Shoulder Country (SHOULDER-SHRUG*)

B. We fly over Lip Terrain (TENSE-MOUTH)

C. The migration of Hands (PALM-DOWN, PALM-UP, STEEPLE)

D. Notable Clothing Landmarks (BUSINESS SUIT)


F. Spelunking the Brain (NONVERBAL BRAIN)

G. The Lie of the land (DECEPTION CUES)

H. Psychiatric Soft Parts (SOFT SIGNS)

IV. Conclusion: Your Nonverbal Skills in Counseling * Caps designate entries in The Nonverbal Dictionary

David B. Givens, Ph.D. Center for Nonverbal Studies

Spokane, Wash. La Jolla, Calif. 509-624-4794 (type in "Center for Nonverbal Studies")

Copyright © 1998 - 2002 (David B. Givens/Center for Nonverbal Studies)

Communication Arts

COMM 306, Communication Research Methods Spring 2002 MWF 9:00 am - 9:50 am Instructor's office: Administration 486 Dr. Dave Givens, instructor 509-624-4794 [email protected]

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe. --Marilyn vos Savant You can observe a lot by watching. --Lawrence Peter ("Yogi") Berra

San Diego Update

Your instructor will be out of class for a few weeks (Feb. 5 - 24, 2002) due to a family emergency. My mother is having heart bypass surgery. Meanwhile, my father is returning home from a nursing care facility. Yours truly will coordinate the tricky job of getting them back together again, up and running, at their condo in San Diego.

Our last class meeting was Mon., Feb. 4. We will meet again starting on Mon., Feb. 25.

Our Department chair, Prof. Tom Miller, indicated we could continue our COMM 306 class in this hiatus through assignments and communications via our class web site. So, please stay tuned to announcements from this page:

(1) Please make sure I have your e-mail address. Shoot me an e-mail if you haven't already done so with Project III.

(2) For our 4th week of class (Feb. 6 - 8), we'll focus on Quantitative Analysis. In How it's Done, please read pp. 393-

414 (Ch. 15: "Quantitative Data Analysis"). Please complete Class Project IV: "Quantitative Survey Analysis" (see below Our Twelve Class Projects).

(3) For our 5th week of class (Feb. 11 - 15), we'll focus on Qualitative Analysis. In How it's Done, please read pp. 431446 (Ch. 16: "Qualitative Data Analysis"). Please complete Class Project V: "Qualititative Survey Analysis" (see below Our Twelve Class Projects).

(4) For our 6th week of class (Feb. 20 - 22), we'll focus on Content Analysis. In How it's Done, please read pp. 333347 (Ch. 13: "Content Analysis"). Please complete Class Project VI: "Content Analysis" (see below Our Twelve Class Projects).

(5) I'll be back for the 7th week of class--See you on Monday, Feb. 25 at 9:00 a.m.! Ciao,

Dr. Dave Givens

San Diego phone 619-589-7144

Welcome to COMM 306's official web page! Please click here to go to our syllabus. Study Guide for Midterm Exam:

Our midterm exam will have about 30 fill-in-the-blank type questions and one or two essay questions. Don't worry about any of the reading or textbook sections we didn't explicitly talk about in class. Do worry (a little) about understanding the methodologies of the "Focal Research" sections in our text. Be sure to know how to compute percentages (including percent increase/decrease), means, medians, modes, and standard deviation statistics, using your calculator (please bring your calculator to the exam). Understand how we did our class projects from week 1 thru week 6--please review your data sheets, data matrices, crunch sheets, and report-out memos to your prof. This exam will be relatively easy, and more than one response will count for almost all of the fill-in questions. There will be no questions with obscure answers--everything is pretty staightforward. Please have some basic working knowledge for each of the research methods we've experimented with so far, especially surveys and survey questionnaires. (Hint-Here's one of your essay questions: "In a job interview, you are asked to explain your training/experience in communication research methods. Your answer, please: ".) Okay, good luck!

Our Twelve Class Projects:

I. Descriptive Statistics for our Class

Objectives: A. to learn to use a data sheet; B. to learn to take data; C. to learn to compute means, medians, modes, and percents; D. to learn to summarize data in a succinctly written report.

Method: A. make up a data sheet and label it "Descriptive Statistics" (please also date your data sheet); B. for each student in our class, ask (1) age, (2) gender, (3) year in school, (4) major, and (5) career goal; C. record quantitative and qualitative responses on data sheet; D. using your calculator, compute descriptive statistics for our class; and E. for Project I, please report back findings in a memo to your prof.

II. Available Data: "Why Major in Communication" Info for the Washington Post

Objectives: A. to learn to respond in a focused way to media inquiries; B. to learn to gather requested information from available data sources for a prompt media response; C. to learn the difference between objective (e.g., science) and advocacy (e.g., professional-association) data.

Method: A. assume you're employed at PRSA; B. assume the Washington Post calls about doing an article on higher education and careers; C. assume the reporter wants some information on PR as a career; D. using the Internet, magazine and newspaper articles, Communication Arts departmental flyers, industry statistics, and so on, provide at least a dozen positive reasons for majoring in PR at Gonzaga; and E. for Project II, please report what you told the reporter in a memo to your prof.

III. Designing a Communication Majors Survey

Objectives: A. to formulate quantitative and qualitative (open-ended) questions designed to assess the quality of the communications major; B. to learn how to test and critique the survey questionnaire.

Method: for Project III, please e-mail a memo to your prof. recommending five questions to be added to the survey.

IV. Quantitative Analysis of our Communication Majors Survey

Objectives: A. to learn how to assign a unique I.D. number to each returned survey; B. to learn how to produce a KEY which gives names to the variables of each question (e.g., "gender") and values to each variable (e.g., "M" and "F"); C. to learn how to produce a data matrix in which to record data from the survey prior to data analysis (e.g., produce a spreadsheet for data input).

Method: A. your prof. selected ten (10) completed surveys and handed back a complete set of the sample of ten to each of you (additional data sets are available in Dave's mailbox on the 4th floor of Admin. in the Communication Arts Dept.); B. for Project IV, please do a quantitative analysis of the quantitative questions (e.g., percents, means, medians, modes, and so on) and summarize your findings in a memo to your prof (try and get as much quantitative information out of the sample data set as possible, e.g., are our men older than our women, what percent of PR majors have mentors, and so on).

V. Qualitative Analysis of our Communication Majors Survey

Objectives: to learn how to analyze open-ended survey questions by identifying common themes in the respondents' answers (as per our discussion on Fri., Feb. 1).

Method: A. Project V is in two parts; B. first part, see what common answers and themes emerge from the open-ended questions; C. second part, using your quantitative and qualitative findings in tandem, suggest five (5) possible ways to improve our Communication Arts Department here at Gonzaga (please report out your qualitative findings first, and then your suggestions [about one paragraph each] in a memo to your prof).

VI. Content Analysis of a Stem-Cell Article

Objectives: A. to learn to do a quantitative and qualitative content analysis; B. to enter the arena of media coverage of stem-cell research (with an eye toward our final project, on marshalling communication-research methods to study fairness in media coverage).

Method: A. make up a data sheet and label it "Content Analysis" (please also date your data sheet); B. click on the article, "How Bush Got There"; C. number the paragraphs; D. for each paragraph, make a reasoned judgement as to (1) favorable to stem-cell research or (2) against stem-cell research; E. use concepts to justify your judgements (e.g., the number of citations of opponents of stem-cell research (such as the Catholic Council of Bishops) vs. the number of proponents cited (such as Michael J. Fox); F. tally the number of pro and con paragraphs; G. make a judgement of "fairness," based on the relative number of plus and minus paragraphs in the piece; and H. report back findings in a memo to your prof.

VII. Case Study of Sports Promotion on the Gonzaga Campus

Objectives: A. to learn to make observations of the world around you; B. to learn to work with a local, Inland Washington case study which is representative of a larger, national phenomenon; C. to gain insights into the world of collegiate sports promotion in the U.S.; D. to work with data sheets; and E. to generalize, using inductive reasoning, from specific observations to more general patterns of human behavior.

Method: A. walk around the Gonzaga campus as if you were a Martian (i.e., as if everything is strange and mysterious); B. ask yourself how collegiate sports are promoted on campus; C. describe the physical media you see (e.g., banners, clothing, flyers, key chains, stuffed animals, web sites, shrines, and so on) that advertise and promote sports here on campus; D. reflect on the who, what, when, where, how, and why of these strange, Earthling customs; E. [optional] interview staff in the PR offices on campus; F. reflect on how your Gonzaga case study itself reflects the larger, national collegiate-sports scene; and G. report back findings in a memo to your prof.

VIII. Comparison of AAA, ASA, and PRSA Ethics Statements

Objectives: A. to learn how professional associations handle ethics issues in research on human beings; B. to learn how do a content analysis of three codified research-ethics statements; C. to compare and contrast the ethics content of these formal documents as they pertain to research on human subjects.

Method: A. click on the AAA, ASA, and PRSA ethics statements; B. compare (1) three key similarities and (2) three key differences in these statements (as they pertain to research on human subjects); C. reflect on why the differences in research ethics exist; and D. report back findings in a memo to your prof.

IX. Collecting Measurement Data from Consumer Products: Vehicular Grilles

Objectives: A. to learn to make observations; B. to use a data sheet; C. to take measurements; D. to experience uncertainty about measurement accuracy (e.g., where to position the tape measure); E. to compute measurement indices; F. to compare indices; and G. to interpret sizes and shapes.

Method: A. make up a data sheet and label it "Vehicular Grille" (please also date your data sheet); B. check out how, what, and why grilles communicate (please click here); C. using a tape or a yardstick, measure (1) the horizontal length of the top of the grille, (2) the horizontal length of the bottom of the grille, and (3) the vertical height of the grille from bottom to top; D. please measure seven grilles, noting the year (estimate if you must, e.g., 1998) and make (e.g., Toyota); E. compute the "attitude index"--divide measurement (1) by measurement (2) [if your decimal is, say, 1.3, you may have a friendly "smiley-face" Ford grille; if it's less than 1.0 (say, 0.8), you may have a fierce "frown-face" Toyota truck]; F. compute the "status index"--divide measurement (1) by measurement (3) [if your decimal is, say, 5.3, you have a "mouth-shaped" grille; if it's less than or equal to 1.0 (say, 0.5), you have an "nose-shaped" fierce or frown-face grille, like that of a Toyota truck]; and G. report back findings in a memo to your prof.

X. Using Chi-Square Calculator for Bivariate Results of Coin & Tack Flipping Trials

Objectives: A. to learn to make observations; B. to use a data sheet; C. to compute statistical frequencies; D. to compare differences between two independent variables (i.e., do a bivariate analysis); and E. to use a chi-square calculator to gauge if differences are statistically significant.

Method: A. make up a data sheet and label it "Coin vs. Tack" (please also date your data sheet); B. flip a U.S. quarter (4 of 6) [27/04/02 06:03:14]

20 times and record the number of heads and tails; C. flip a standard, bulletin-board-type thumbtack 20 times and record the number of heads (flat-side down) and tails (pin down); D. record data in matrix form as a chi-square-table (if you missed this in class, please see chi square tutorial); E. type data into chi square calculator; F. calculate results; and G. report back findings in a memo to your prof.

XI. Sampling from Generation X and Y: Is Androgyny evident--and statistically significant—in Footwear?

Objectives: Method:

XII. Observing Generation X and Y: Thin Description of a Convenience-Sample Group at Crosby

Objectives: Method:

Format for Individual/Team Research Methods Final Project:

I. Title

II. Abstract (i.e., a summary paragraph)

III. Part One: Research Proposal for Case Study

IV. Part Two: Pilot Study

V. Conclusions

VI. References

Study Guide for Final Exam:

Our final exam will be cumulative from the first day of class. It will have about 30 fill-in-the-blank type questions and some short essay questions (perhaps one long essay, too). Don't worry about any of the reading or textbook sections that we didn't explicitly talk about in class. Do worry about understanding the methodologies of the "Focal Research" sections. Be sure to know how to compute percentages, means, medians, modes, and standard-deviation statistics, using your calculator (please bring your calculator to the exam). Please be able to answer the question, "What is a chi square test? (Check out Georgetown U's chi square tutorial, below.) Understand how we did our class projects-Project I thru XII--please review your data sheets, data matrices, data crunch sheets, and report-out memos to your prof. Please be able to answer short-essay questions about each of the research methodologies we have explored (content analysis, case studies, qualitative interviews, evaluation research, and so on), including an example for each method. This exam will be relatively easy, and more than one response will count for almost all of the fill-in questions. There will be no trick questions with obscure answers--everything, again, is pretty staightforward. Please have some basic, working knowledge about each of the research methods, measurements, and computations we've used this fall. (Hint--Here [again] is one of your essay questions: "In a job interview, you are asked to explain your training/experience in communication research methods. Your answer, please: ".) Okay, good luck!

Class Links:

American Communication Association (

Chi Square Calculator (

Chi Square Table (

Chi Square Tutorial (

The Nonverbal Dictionary

Public Relations Society of America (

Spokesman-Review article of Feb. 15, 2001 ( Standard Deviation Calculators:

Research Methods Final Project Links:

(1) Text of President Bush's August 9, 2001 TV Speech (

(2) Catholics Condemn Stem Cell Decision (stem61.htm)

(3) Hollywood's Latest Cause: Stem Cells (stem71.htm)

(4) U.S. Identifies Firms With Stem Cell Lines (stem121.htm)

(5) Elizabeth Cohen: Ethics of stem cell research( stem131.htm)

(6) How Bush Got There (stem141.htm)

(A) Accuracy in Media (

(B) Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (

(C) The Poynter Institute (


Gonzaga University - Communication Arts COMM 306 - Communication Research Methods

Fall 2001, MWF 9:00 am - 9:50 am Administration 203 Dr. Dave Givens, instructor


How It's Done: An Invitation to Social Research Emily Adler and Roger Clark New York, Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1999

Office Hours

MWF 8:00 am - 8:50 am Administration 486 Phone & Voice Mail: 509-624-4794 [email protected]


Class Participation & Class Projects = 25% Midterm Exam = 25% Individual/Team Research Methods Final Project = 25% Final Exam = 25%

Special Needs

If you have special needs, such as testing, seating, or religious or sports-related attendance problems, please contact me as soon as possible.

Our Class Web Page

Essential Links to Internet Resources Announcements

Week I (Descriptive Statistics)

1. Intro to class

2. Our textbook

3. Our syllabus and home page

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 1-15 (Ch. 1: "The Uses of Social Research")

2. How to make and organize data sheets

3. Gather data

4. Select a sample

5. Compute mean, median, mode, and percent (we'll do a standard deviation later on)

6. Project I: Descriptive Statistics (please summarize your results in short memo to me)

Week II (Available Research Data) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 305-324 (Ch. 12: "Using Available Data")

2. Hand back Project I - discussion; overhead example, FYI

3. "American Information Association" - Welcome Aboard!

4. Class Project II: Washington Post - "Why Major in Communication?"


1. Share & discuss resource venues for Project II

2. Internet resources for communication studies

3. Hyperlinks on our class web page

4. Merits of using available quantitative & qualitative data from Internet and library sources

5. Using interview data

6. Data modification: refiguring Project I's percent, mean, median, mode, and standard deviation with a new N


1. Project II - share & discuss results

2. Value for a newspaper article, for our own Department, and for next week's Project III

3. The Big 6 Questions about all communication research projects

4. Discuss reading - "The Uses of Social Research" - pp. 1-15 in How it's Done

Week III (Survey Questionnaires) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 201-227 (Ch. 9: "Questionnaires and Structured Interviews")

2. How to do a survey

3. Gonzaga's recent survey: "GU Faculty Lacks Diversity" (the politics of research)

4. Class Project III: Survey Questionnaire - "Communication Majors Survey"

5. Designing survey questions (using some results of Project II)


1. Designing survey questions

2. Choosing an effective format for our survey questionnaire

3. Title, short explanation (e.g., why you should fill out our survey)

4. Demographic questions (e.g., age, sex, major, year in school, race, ethnicity)

5. Substantive questions (e.g., about quality of library resources, mentoring, career counseling)

6. A very cool Internet site for interactive descriptive statistics, FYI

7. Discuss reading - "Using Available Data" - pp. 305-324 in How it's Done


1. How to test a survey, before administering it to real people

2. Good medicine: Taking our own survey

3. Evaluating our draft survey

Week IV (Quantitative Data Analysis) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 393-414 (Ch. 15: "Quantitative Data Analysis")

2. Introducing our Team Research Project (Team A & Team B)

3. Class Project IV: Quantitative Survey Analysis

4. How to make a data matrix

5. How to code survey responses and enter into data matrix Wed.

1. Class workshop on computing statistics from survey data matrix

2. How to make, structure, and use a data crunch sheet

3. Discussion of our survey questions, codes, and procedures

4. Suggestions for improving our survey questionnaire


1. Discussion and results of Class Project IV: Quantitative Survey

2. Thinking ahead to our Individual/Team Research Project

3. Individual/Team Project links on our class web site

4. Discuss Smithsonian magazine article on "Discovering the Odds"

5. Discuss reading - "Questionnaires and Structured Interviews" - pp. 201-227 in How it's Done

Week V (Qualitative Data Analysis) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 431-446 (Ch. 16: "Qualitative Data Analysis")

2. Class Project V: Qualitative Survey Analysis

3. How qualitative answers shed light on quantitative responses

4. How to code & interpret qualitative, open-ended answers


1. Class workshop on qualitative coding and bivariate analysis

2. Data coding, data matrix, data crunch sheet

3. "Gender Differences in Communication Majors"--extracting patterns from our survey

4. What does correlation really mean?

5. Using your intuitive sense to spot patterns

6. Using your logic (and statistics) to test patterns


1. Discussion and results of Class Project V: Qualitative Survey

2. Discuss reading - "Quantitative Data Analysis" - pp. 393-414 in How it's Done

3. Discuss reading - "Qualitative Data Analysis" - pp. 431-446 in How it's Done

Week VI (Content Analysis) Wed.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 333-347 (Ch. 13: "Content Analysis")

2. Discuss teams and rationale for our Individual/Team Research Project

3. Class Project VI: Content Analysis - Spokesman-Review Feb. 15, 2001 (see hyperlink on COMM 306 web page)


1. Discuss Content Analysis

2. Discuss Project VI

3. Discuss reading - "Content Analysis" - pp. 333-347 in How it's Done

Week VII (Theory & Researchable Topics) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 17-56 (Chs. 2 & 3: "Theory and Research" & "Selecting Researchable Topics and Questions")

2. Please turn in Data Work Sheets one week from next Wednesday.

3. Theory and research topics, to complete the first half of our semester.


1. Study class notes and readings

2. Review class projects, data work sheets, data matrices, data crunch sheets

3. No class project this week

Fri. - Midterm Examination Week VIII (Case Studies)


1. Hand back and go over midterm exam

2. How it's Done: please read pp. 147-72 (Ch. 7: "Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Case Study Designs")

3. Please check out your instructor's longitudinal survey on the Web

4. Discuss final Individual/Team Research Project

5. Class Project VII: Promoting Sports: A Gonzaga Basketball Case Study


1. Please hand in your Data Work Sheets

2. Discuss final Individual/Team Research Project again (please see How it's Done pp. 448-52, on Report Writing)

3. Thoughts on Project VII?

4. Discuss reading - Chs. 2 & 3: "Theory and Research" & "Selecting Researchable Topics and Questions" - pp. 333-347 - and Ch. 7: "Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Case Study Designs" - pp. 14772 - in How it's Done


1. Complete observations for Project VII

2. Optional discussion of Project VII and the methodology of case studies

Week IX. (Research Ethics) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 57-84 (Ch. 4: "Ethics and Social Research")

2. Project VIII: Comparative Study of Three Ethics Statements:

A. AAA Ethics Statement

B. ASA Ethics Statement

C. PRSA Ethics Statement (on PRSA's web site [please see link on COMM 306 web page]) Wed.

1. Discuss Project VIII

2. A case study of ethics in communications studies: The WIPP

3. For additional information on the WIPP project, please see


1. Discuss Project VIII

2. Conclude WIPP Case Study

3. Discuss reading - "Ethics and Social Research" - pp. 57-84 in How it's Done Week X (Measurement)


1. How it's Done: please read pp. 119-46 (Ch. 6: "Measurement")

2. Discuss Individual/Team Research Project - What's your topic?

3. What is measurement? Nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio measurement data.

4. Project IX: Measuring the Shape of an Expressive Consumer Product

5. The expressive vehicular grille (

6. Calculating and using indices


1. How to measure people, phenomena, and products

2. Project IX's measurements

3. Measurement decisions and problems in light of your Data Work Sheets' 6 questions

4. Measuring probability: coins vs. tacks

5. Introduction to chi square statistics (please see chi square tutorial and links on COMM 306 web page)

6. Project X: Use Chi Square Calculator to interpret your coin vs. tack statistics


1. Project IX conclusions on measurement

2. Discuss reading - "Measurement" - pp. 119-46 in How it's Done

3. Field exercise for grille measurement project

Week XI (Sampling) Mon.

1. Sampling

2. How it's Done: please read pp. 85-117 (Ch. 5: "Sampling")

3. A template for your Individual/Team Research Project

4. Sampling from Gen X and Gen Y: Our population

5. Male and female members of this population: our independent variables

6. Evolution of human footwear: Our dependent variables

7. Class Project XI: Are Generations X and Y Androgynous? A Footwear Case in Point


1. Key issues in sampling as presented by Project XI

2. Generations X and Y are (only) concepts

3. Conceptual categories of footwear: Our units of analysis

4. Using Chi Square to assess the significance of findings in Project XI

5. What is a sample?

6. Probability vs. nonprobability samples

7. Q: What is a biased sample? (A: It's a systematically unrepresentative one)

8. Nonresponse bias in a sample

9. Parameter of the population vs. statistics of the sample

10. What is sampling error? (When the sample differs from the population) Fri.

1. Project XI's conclusions on sampling

2. Discuss reading - "Sampling" - pp. 85-117 in How it's Done

Week XII (Observation Techniques) Mon.

1. How it's Done: please read pp. 271-98 (Ch. 11: "Observation Techniques")

2. Participant, unobtrusive, and systematic observation

3. Class Project XII: Observing Generations X and Y

Wed. - Thanksgiving Holiday Fri. - Thanksgiving Holiday

Week XIII (Experimental Research - No Class Project) Mon.


1. How it's Done: please read pp. 173-200 (Ch. 8: "Experimental Research")

2. What is experimental research?

3. Causal hypothesis

4. Experimental design

5. Pre-test, post-test, stimulus, placebo, internal validity

6. Double-blind experiment


1. Thoughts on Projects

2. Discuss reading - "Observation Techniques" - pp. 271-98 in How it's Done

3. Discuss reading - "Experimental Research" - pp. 173-200 in How it's Done

4. Classroom time for projects

Week XIV (Catch-up Week - No Class Project) Mon.

1. What are qualitative interviews?

2. How it's Done: please read pp. 233-69 (Ch. 10: "Qualitative Interviews")

3. Focus groups: Hallmark, Riva, and Sunkist examples


1. What is evaluation research?

2. How it's Done: please read pp. 355-92 (Ch. 14: "Evaluation Research")

3. Gonzaga PR office: an evaluation example


1. Final catch-up items

2. Meet your prof. in Admin. 486 (only if necessary) - no classroom lecture today

3. Please use classroom time to complete all your projects

Week XV (Prep Week) Mon.

1. What we did all semester--and why we did it

2. Review & discuss communication research methods class

3. Please turn in all missing projects


1. Review & discuss communication research methods class

2. The method in the madness

Fri. - December 14

Please turn in your Individual/Team Research Project - deadline is today

Week XVI (Semester Examinations) Make-up Final (by appointment)


Return to COMM 306 web page

August 20, 2001 Vol. 158 No. 7 Special Issue/America's Best/Science & Medicine

How Bush Got There

Months of debate--and one lucky break--led to the President's compromise. The inside story


For a while this year it seemed that George W. Bush buttonholed everybody he met to get his or her view on stem-cell research. Emissaries from Capitol Hill, delegations of scientists, pro-lifers, bioethicists, patients' advocates, the Pope--if they had a take, they had his ear. "Almost everyone in the White House, well, he asked your opinion at one point," says presidential counselor Karen Hughes. "He also questioned what led you to that decision. He wanted to know the rationale."

Of all the advice Bush got, however, none was more important than the consultation he held on Aug. 2 with doctors and scientists from the National Institutes of Health. Weeks earlier, Bush had sent the NIH on a treasure hunt through clinics and laboratories around the world, searching for available lines of stem cells. These are cells extracted from embryos created for fertility treatments but not used to produce children. The extracted stem cells potentially can be made to grow into any cell in the human body, making them an extraordinary resource in the fight against Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes and other diseases.

Religious conservatives argue that using those stem cells means deriving benefit from the destruction of human embryos--fertilized eggs in the early stages of development--in their eyes no less a crime than abortion. And Bush, son of the great tax-promise breaker, did not want to go back on his vow that he would not fund such research. He believed that if he banned federal funding of research using stem cells derived from embryos destroyed in the future, many pro-lifers might swallow their misgivings about the use of stem cells already extracted from discarded embryos. There was still a problem. Bush and his advisers were being told there were probably a dozen, maybe 20, such lines--not enough, many scientists said, to sustain the necessary research. But the Aug. 2 meeting with the NIH scientists lifted that cloud. They told Bush there were more than 65 lines available worldwide--not as many as scientists would like but enough for a plausible compromise.

"It made this decision possible," said a senior White House official. "It allowed you to balance the hopes of research against the moral imperative that the government should not be funding the destruction of human life."

Last spring, when Bush was running for the White House, stem-cell research was for most people an obscure specialty on the frontiers of medicine. In a campaign dominated by education and tax cuts, his promise, made in a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that "taxpayer funds should not underwrite research that involves the destruction of live human embryos" must have seemed like a detail on the margins of his platform, like his pledge to reform the crop-insurance program.

Instead, it has provided the central predicament of his young presidency. It is an issue that has placed Senate pro-lifers like Orrin Hatch and Strom Thurmond on the side of those who want federal funding, and brought out stars like Mary Tyler Moore and Michael J. Fox to speak on behalf of juvenile diabetics and people with Parkinson's disease, who might benefit from the research. For Bush, the past few weeks provided a supreme opportunity. For a man who has sometimes seemed to lack the gravitas that the presidency demands, the stem-cell debate offered the chance to show that he was thoughtful, earnest, tireless--in short, worthy of holding the title of President of the United States. Bush's prolonged rumination about the right thing to do was not just a time for soul searching. It was a way of signaling that he could engage issues that mattered at a level commensurate with their importance. In the days just before and after his speech, his aides were everywhere to spread the word that Bush had given this question every last ounce of the consideration it deserved. "I think he just really took it seriously," says an Administration official involved in the decision. "He was bombarded from so many sides. I think he just had to sift and sift."

What Bush announced in his televised address last Thursday night was a compromise that was, at least in the short term, wonderfully adroit. By allowing funds for research on the small number of already existing stem-cell lines but denying money for any work with stem cells derived from embryos destroyed in the future, he positioned himself in the narrow political space that allowed him to claim he had not stood in the way of promising medical investigations. At the same time, he could insist that he had kept his promises to the Republican right, which abandoned his father after the elder Bush broke his no-new-taxes pledge. To placate scientists who argue that Bush did not go far enough, he promised "aggressive federal funding of research on umbilical-cord, placenta, adult and animal stem cells, which do not involve the same moral dilemma." The government is already spending $250 million on such research this year.

The White House is hoping that the Bush compromise will deflate moves in Congress to push through legislation that would override his decision. Majorities in both houses support federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells. The Bush compromise might be enough "to head them off at the pass," says Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, an opponent of embryonic stem-cell research. It helped that Bush timed his announcement for the summer recess, when members of Congress are scattered, making it harder for Democrats to offer a speedy, unified alternative.

For the most part, Bush also defused the fury from the right. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-to whom he initially made his no-funding promise--blasted his decision as "morally unacceptable." Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, said that by trying to distance himself from the destruction of the embryos, Bush was like Pontius Pilate, who "washed his hands of the blood" of Christ. But evangelical leaders like Jerry Falwell and conservative radio host James Dobson called the compromise one they could live with.

If nothing else, it was not the outcome that pro-lifers feared most--the compromise developed last month by Republican Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the only physician in the Senate, who has been an important Bush adviser on medical and health-care issues. Frist's plan would allow stem cells to be extracted from surplus embryos currently in stock and due for destruction in clinics and labs around the country, a supply that numbers between 100,000 and 1 million. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, who was mildly critical of Bush's compromise, says he will introduce a broad stem-cell funding bill that could embrace the Frist approach; in the fall Daschle will find out whether Bush has cut him off at the pass.

For months a White House working group led by Karl Rove, the President's top political adviser, had been taking views from all sides on the stem-cell question. Bush turned to the issue seriously three months ago. On May 8 he had lunch with Tommy Thompson, the pro-research Secretary of Health and Human Services. At the time Thompson was fairly certain that Bush would not budge from the position he took during the campaign, when the question had been turned over to aides who handled abortion issues, with predictable results. To Thompson's surprise, Bush insisted that he was looking for a solution somewhere between a total ban and the kind of green light that might encourage the spread of virtual embryo factories. "He made it clear that he was up in the air," says a White House aide.

Thompson was a major advocate of the idea that already existing lines of stem cells might serve as the basis for compromise. He spoke from time to time with James Thomson, the stem-cell pioneer at the University of Wisconsin (see America's Best), who had led him to believe there could be useful research with even a limited number of stem-cell lines.

Bush continued to seek views from everywhere. On an Air Force One flight to Philadelphia a few months ago, G.O.P. moderate Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania presented the case for a bill he had sponsored that would fund and control stem-cell research through the NIH. Bush listened attentively but gave no hint of what he thought. On July 11, Bush met with medical leaders to talk about the patients' bill of rights. Toward the end of the meeting, he broke away from health care to tell his audience that "the issue I am wrestling with is stem cells." Dr. Stan Pelofsky, president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, says he told Bush that "the genie was out of the bottle" and that federally funded research with oversight would accomplish the best of both worlds. "You would perhaps get spectacular benefits down the road," he said, "and you would also have governmental oversight." But again Bush gave no indication of which way he was leaning.

As the President peppered people with questions, his staff suggested a series of Oval Office meetings with representatives from all sides of the issue. One of them, in early July, turned out to be pivotal. Bush met with conservative bioethicists Daniel Callahan, co-founder of the Hastings Center, a bioethics institute, and Dr. Leon Kass from the University of Chicago. (Bush named Kass last week to head an advisory panel that will monitor stem-cell research and recommend guidelines.) At the July meeting, the two ethicists reinforced Bush's growing conviction that he should not fund research on newly extracted stem-cell colonies. Now it only remained for him to find a way to make the narrower compromise work. When the NIH discovered the larger number of existing stem cells, the shape of the policy was locked in.

Meanwhile, pressure was building in Congress. On July 25, Rove huddled with 43 moderate Congressmen of the Republican Mainstreet Partnership at the Capitol Hill Club. Minnesota

Representative Jim Ramstad, whose mother suffers from Alzheimer's disease and whose first cousin died from juvenile diabetes, stood up and made an impassioned plea for stem-cell research. In reply, Rove recounted how on a trip he took to Georgia a young couple came up to him and pleaded for stem-cell research to continue for another six months so it might save their ailing child. The President, Rove told the Congressmen, considered the consequences of a stem-cell decision "no less important than a decision to commit troops to war."

The next weekend, when both men were attending the G.O.P.'s Midwest Leadership Conference, Ramstad informed Rove that a letter would soon be delivered to the White House with the signatures of 202 Congressmen backing the research. Forty were Republicans. "And I have 15 other Republicans," Ramstad warned, "who have committed to us but who didn't want to go public with their support."

Pressure also came from stem-cell opponents on the Hill. In early July House majority leader Dick Armey, majority whip Tom DeLay and Republican Conference chairman J.C. Watts had issued a joint statement demanding that Bush prohibit funding. "It is not pro-life to rely on an industry of death," they argued, "even if the intention is to find cures for diseases." House Speaker Dennis Hastert, though he opposes stem-cell research, refused to join his three top lieutenants in the statement.

For all his consultation on the subject, Bush did not talk much with members of Congress. Even Senator Frist did not have an in-depth talk with Bush after Frist floated his own compromise. "He was searching more for moral authority than political counsel," says Senator Sam Brownback, the Kansas Republican who opposes funding.

The speech Bush ultimately gave last week was written by Hughes, who has a gift for conveying complex issues in kitchen-table language. She rehearsed it with him Wednesday. Until the final hours before he delivered it, just a handful of people knew what he would say--Vice President Dick Cheney, Rove, Hughes, chief of staff Andrew Card, White House communications aide Dan Bartlett and legal adviser Jay Lefkowitz. Half an hour before airtime, Rove held a conference call with five Republican members of Congress who were outspoken opponents of embryonic stem-cell research--Senators Brownback and Santorum plus Representatives Christopher Smith, David Weldon and Joseph Pitts.

"The reaction was first one of relief," says Santorum. "We had heard rumors that the President was going to fund stem-cell research, and many of us thought this was going to be the Frist proposal." Santorum says Bush's decision might "actually stop further destruction of human life because the scientists who now are looking for robust funding programs are going to be working with these existing stem-cell lines. So the desire to create more stem-cell lines through destruction of human embryos will be alleviated."

In weeks to come, protest against the compromise is likely to intensify among both scientists and people waiting for medical breakthroughs. There were immediate questions about whether Bush was correct in saying there are "more than 60" existing stem lines available for research. A White House that has often called for "sound science" on global warming will now have to prove that it has not offered a rosy number of available stem-cell lines.

One way that Bush may have come up with a higher number of available stem-cell lines is through a relaxation of the ethical rules governing how they are collected. The Washington Post reported last Saturday that one of the ethical guidelines put in place by Bush--that the embryo donors must have given "proper informed consent"--was less strict than rules established under Bill Clinton, which specified in detail what informed consent would be. That change could have helped make a larger number of stem-cell lines available for research.

Bush may end up tripping on his own logic. Now that he has sanctioned the principle of government funding for research in existing stem-cell lines, he may have difficulty holding the line at 65. Privately funded researchers will be producing new stem-cell colonies from discarded embryos. When scientists come to Bush saying the federally approved cell lines show promise but they need more cell lines, by what argument will he be able to say no? "I have made this decision with great care," Bush said in his address. "I pray it is the right one." It may be, at least for a little while.

Reported by James Carney, Matthew Cooper, John F. Dickerson, Michael Duffy and Douglas Waller/ Washington and Cathy Booth Thomas/Crawford

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