Whopper of the Week: Tommy Thompson

“Nobody has ever said there are 64 completely developed [stem-cell] lines. Nobody has ever said that.”

Tommy Thompson, in a Sept. 6 interview with Laura Meckler of the Associated Press. The day before, Thompson told a Senate hearing that there were 24 or 25 completely developed stem-cell lines. To view or listen to the hearing, click here.

“I would like to point out–you know, there’s a lot of questions about, you know, the viability of these cell lines. And let me just explain that a little bit for you, the listening public. There are 60 that we know of, real, viable, robust embryonic stem-cell lines [italics Chatterbox’s] across the country, around the world.”


–Thompson, in an Aug. 12 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.


“I requested the scientists at NIH on behalf of the president, to find out exactly how many embryonic stem-cell lines are available for use, for research. And we were surprised, I was surprised, the scientists at NIH were. And they made a detailed inventory, and not only did they do it before the president’s speech, they did it subsequent to the president’s speech, and they once again corroborated, the scientists did [at] NIH, that there are 60 viable,robust [italics Chatterbox’s],diversified embryonic stem-cell lines available for research. … [T]he research can be done on the existing lines. They’re robust [italics Chatterbox’s], they’re diversified, they’re going to give the scientists all the information they need. …”


Thompson, in an Aug. 12 appearance on CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer.

(Thanks to multiple readers.)

Got a whopper? Send it to To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:

Aug. 30, 2001: HHS spokesman Bill Pierce

Aug. 23, 2001: Variety Editor Peter Bart

Aug. 17, 2001: Tom Daschle

Aug 10, 2001: Robert Mueller

Aug. 3, 2001: Barbara Olson

July 27, 2001: Jeffrey Archer

July 20, 2001: George W. Bush

July 13, 2001: George W. Bush

July 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone

June 29, 2001: David Brock

June 22, 2001: Edmund Morris

June 15, 2001: George W. Bush

June 8, 2001: Nepali Prince Regent (subsequently, King) Gyanendra

June 1, 2001: Mary McGrory

May 25, 2001: Ari Fleischer

May 18, 2001: York, Pa., Mayor Charles Robertson

May 11, 2001: Ted Olson

May 4, 2001: Rear Admiral Craig Quigley

April 27, 2001: Ben Affleck

April 20, 2001: South Carolina state legislator Chip Limehouse

April 13, 2001: Gray Davis

April 6, 2001: Sumner Redstone

March 30, 2001: Spencer Abraham

March 23, 2001: George W. Bush, Rep. Jennifer Dunn, and/or the Treasury Department

March 16, 2001: George W. Bush

March 9, 2001: Russ Freyman, spokesman, National Association of Manufacturers

March 2, 2001: Paul O’Neill

Feb. 23, 2001: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Feb. 16, 2001: Oscar spokesman John Pavlik

Feb. 9, 2001: Lynne Cheney

Feb. 2, 2001: Bobby Thomson

Jan. 26, 2001: Denise Rich