By MATT LEINGANG
The Associated Press
Monday, October 30, 2006; 8:25 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Michael J. Fox campaigned for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Sherrod Brown Monday, saying the country needs leaders who support scientific research.
The actor, who has Parkinson's disease, has been campaigning around the country for candidates who favor federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, which he supports as a possible cure.
Brown, a congressman from northeastern Ohio, is challenging Sen. Mike DeWine, who opposes federal money for such research.
The race had been tight, but recent polls showed Brown leading by 7 to 12 percentage points over DeWine. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona headlined DeWine rallies Monday in northwest Ohio.
During a speech to about 150 supporters, Fox referred to the criticism he drew from conservatives last week after appearing in a Missouri political ad that ran during the World Series. The spot showed Fox visibly shaking while he urged viewers to vote for another Democratic Senate challenger, Claire McCaskill, over Missouri's Republican incumbent, Sen. Jim Talent.
Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh criticized his appearance in the ad, suggesting that Fox was "either off his medication or acting."
"As you may know, this past week I had a little run-in with a less-than-compassionate conservative," Fox said, appearing to sway slightly. "I guess I'm not supposed to speak with you until my symptoms go away. Or maybe I'm just supposed to go away. But I'm not going to go away."
Fox was critical of President Bush's policy of restricting research on stem cells that come from embryos, which critics say involves destroying life. He was joined onstage by several children, including Tanner Barton, an 11-year-old from the Columbus suburb of Dublin who has diabetes.
Being in Columbus _ the setting of the 1980s television series "Family Ties" that made Fox a star _ felt like a bit of a homecoming, the actor said.