McCain says he’s the one to keep US in space

August 18, 2008

COCOA BEACH, Florida –  Sen. John McCain said on Monday he, and not Sen. Barack Obama, is the presidential candidate who will keep the United States up in space.

On a visit to Florida’s Space Coast, home to the NASA complex at Cape shuttle.jpgCanaveral, the Arizona Republican said as U.S. president, he would make space exploration a top priority and ensure that the United States retains its leadership role.

He lambasted his Democratic rival for changing his position on space funding.

Earlier in the campaign, Obama proposed delays in NASA’s Constellation program, which will succeed the retiring Space Shuttle, to free money to pay for early education programs. That proposal was later dropped, and aides said he would find other ways to pay for those programs.

This past weekend, Obama’s campaign said the Illinois Democrat  supported human missions to the moon by 2020 as part of a longer-term effort to send missions to distant destinations, including Mars.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to know what a politician will actually do once in office because they say different things at different times to different people,” McCain said in a statement he read to reporters at Brevard Community College, where he met with local officials and business executives. “This is a particular problem when a candidate has a short, thin record on the issues as is the case of Sen. Obama.

“Let me just say in case Sen. Obama does decide to return to his original plan of cutting NASA funding,  I oppose such cuts,” he said, adding he was committed to funding the Constellation program.

Florida – a major battleground state in the November presidential election — faces the loss of thousands of jobs when the space shuttle program ends in 2010.

Both the Republican and the Democratic candidates say they would like to minimize the projected five-year gap between the shuttle’s retirement and introduction of its successor. Obama also has proposed an additional shuttle flight.

The Florida Democratic Party recently criticized McCain by saying the five-year gap was created under his watch as former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

“It’s a little late for John McCain to claim he would minimize the gap that he helped create or save the jobs he helped put in danger,” state Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said in the statement. “If concerned Space Coast workers are looking for someone to blame for this poorly-thought-out plan, they need to look no further than John McCain.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage. 

Photo credit: Reuters/Pierre Ducharme (Space shuttle Discovery and chase plane at Kennedy Space Center)

5 comments

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Got to love that response, because obviously Obama wasn’t in congress during this time as well; Not to mention that the democratic party has been in control for over 2 years now. How about they all take some blame instead of just pointing the fingers at each other?

I support such cuts, noone cares about space travel, we are to concerned with fly to other planets and new life forms that we loose focus of the people hear on earth. Lets end pollution and hunger, famine and health care issues first. Lets find newer and better enegery sources, lets end the war in iraq, and find peace on our planet before we invade and use up another. Lets us our money on earth and pay down our deficate.

Posted by larry durant | Report as abusive

Hey, Larry, any idea where a significant amount of scientific research, especially concerning the topics you’ve listed, comes from? Thats right, space travel & research on the ISS. I suppose you’d also like to just let the ISS (a multi-billion-dollar international investment) crash & burn out of orbit. Yes, we can use Russian transports but at significant political issues. Or how about the thousands of people who will be out of work without the space program?

Further, with your logic, we might as well stop all research not related to pollution, hunger, famine, energy, and health care…next time try thinking before opening your mouth.

Posted by Brandon | Report as abusive

Larry,

Finish the second grade before you type your rant. Ignorant and illiterate statements like that are why our space program has been stuck in LEO for the past 36 years!

Do you think Europe, India, China, Japan and Russia are hurrying their lunar programs along just to put a flag up there? No, the moon has a weath of resources that can be used that you obviously know zip about!

“We need to solve hunger, disease, war and energy issues on earth first.” That tired, old sad argument has crippled our space program for years. As long as there are people there will be hunger, disease and war – PERIOD! We should not hamper our progress with short-sighted cro-magnon thinking like yours. All it would take is one well-placed asteroid or comet to truly wipe out your disease hunger and war. We currently have all of humanitiy’s eggs in one basket – earth. We need to expand our horizons, not limit ourselves with your primitive backward thinking.

At a conference I recently attended a young, ill-informed person, (much like you) stated, “If god had wanted us to fly he would have given us wings!” I stated, “Madam, by that logic if god had wanted us to drive he would have given us tires – and except the one circling your waist, I don’t see any on you.”

Before you post stupid comments, do the research and look at the big picture.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Is NASA just a Jobs program, or is it a Science and Research Program?
We learned more about our own Planet and the other Planets in our Solar System from Robotic Spacecraft

Ron

Posted by Ron C | Report as abusive