Campaign '08

New (or at least official) Obama space policy coming soon

The AAAS meeting in Boston hosted a presidential science policy forum Saturday afternoon, featuring representatives of the Clinton and Obama campaigns (other candidates were also invited; the McCain campaign sent its regrets and the Huckabee and Paul campaigns did not respond, according to organizers.) Most of the 90-minute event was devoted to general science and technology policy issues, but there was a brief discussion on space policy, most of which covered ground previously announced by the campaigns or otherwise reported. The one newsworthy item came from Obama’s representative, Alec Ross, who told the audience to “anticipate some specific policies from the Obama campaign specific to NASA and specific to space exploration within the next month.” He didn’t go into additional detail, saying, “I’m not allowed to scoop anything.” The rest of his comments tended to be on the general side, identifying the need for a space program that balanced exploration with earth observation, echoing comments made by the Clinton campaign representative, Tom Kalil.

Ross did not linger after the event, needing to get to the airport, but I did get a chance to ask him if the policy that the Obama campaign was planning to release would be the same as, or similar to, the version leaked online last month. He paused, gave me a quizzical look for a second, and finally said, “no comment.”

I’ll most some more details from the event a little later; there was no other breaking news from either campaign but a few interesting insights.

26 comments to New (or at least official) Obama space policy coming soon

  • Anon4

    Snake oil salesmen like Obama will promise you anything to get votes and deliver nothing. Don’t expect to see any space policy proposal unless Obama gets into trouble in Florida or some other space state. Then you will get some rhetoric to get your vote and nothing else. He already tipped his hand when he stated he would raid NASA for more welfare spending on education.

  • MarkWhittington

    It’s interesting that the Obama folks feel they need to put out a new iteration of their space policy. Will it mesh with the one Keith Cowing published on his site? Or will it attempt to be responsive to some of the criticisms that have been published? I await with great interest,

  • Bill White

    Don’t expect to see any space policy proposal unless Obama gets into trouble in Florida or some other space state.

    Obama is in trouble in Florida due to the primary election schedule fiasco.

    Florida’s Representatives (both Democratic and Republican) should join forces NOW and demand that the proposed Bush budget for NASA be increased and that ALL the candidates be pressured to fully fund NASA after 2009.

  • Keith Cowing

    No one “leaked” anything to me Jeff. You really need to check your facts before you make unfounded accusations such as this – especially if you are going to go around registering at events as “media”.

  • Jeff Foust

    In the interests in accuracy, perhaps Mr. Cowing can share how he “acquired” the document, if it was not “leaked” to him. It is not posted on the Obama web site and the campaign has not answered inquiries about it (both the Ross statement yesterday as well as previous requests for information about the document).

  • Keith Cowing

    I am not going to tell you how I get things Jeff.

    If you were a real reporter (since you regularly sign up for events as “media”) then you’d know that.

    You’d also correct your original wording.

  • Keith Cowing

    Did you pay your travel expenses to Boston or did Futron? Did you cover this event on company time? Did you register as “media”?

    Just wondering.

  • It would appear that the argumentative intensity in the space blogs is not unique to discussions involving ESAS. From whence comes THIS rancor? And what purpose is it serving? Certainly not the further advancement of space exploration and exploitation, which so many of us supposedly agree is desirable and necessary for the benefit of us all.

  • Keith Cowing


    Jeff made a statement about me that is simply not true. He then puts the onus on me to prove him wrong and in so doing reveal my source(s). This is not how a media person would do this – and yet Jeff regularly signs up at events as “media”. Yet he never explains who is funding all of his trips to places and events that he “reports” on. Strange.

  • Anon8


    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Real reporters and media types pride themselves on attempting to be objective and unbiased. Your rude, confrontational demeanor and the eternal chip on your shoulder against certain people in the space community do more to discredit you than your lack of proper journalistic training.

  • Keith Cowing


    People who hide behind fake names have something to hide.

  • Stewart Lollar

    Dear Mr Cowing,
    As a long time reader of every pro-space site I can find, I do wish you would dial back some of the rhetoric aimed at the people who are, after all, on the same pro-space exploration side as you are. I did not see any ill-will directed your way in this article; if anything, respect for your finding of info not available elsewhere was to the benefit of your reputation as a space policy journalist. You object to the word “leaked”? OK, let’s try “somehow obtained”. Still implies not a iota of wrong-doing on the reporter’s part. I can only imagine how this must sound to someone just becoming interested in space exploration. We will not become a spacefaring civilization by throwing dirt at each other.

  • Stewart Lollar

    And let me add: NASAWATCH and SpaceRef are at the top of my bookmark list, and I have long admired your dedication and technical expertise; I’m a big longtime fan of your work. Mr Foust’s site is a welcome addition to assist spaceflight supporters. We all oppose those politicians who blindly seek to prevent the exploration, settlement, and exploitation of the vast energies and materials of our solar system. Attacks should be directed at those moronic, if not evil, politicians whose policies will make us Earth-stranded peasants.

    The Web being what it is, I usually do not use my full name in comments, but let that not be an issue. Again, big thanks to Mr Foust *and* Mr Cowing for their work. Can we please focus on the solar system that is at stake?

  • Keith Cowing


    The information was not “leaked” to me. I informed Jeff Foust of that yet he has not corrected his website – rather he is trying to push me to reveal my sources. If I clarify my methods I run the risk of exposing sources and I simply do not do that – for any one – ever.

    Jeff doesn’t seem to be interested in correcting the record with regard to an item I posted having been requested to do so by me. Yet when I inquire as to how Jeff gets access to things i.e. gains access to events (often at no cost) by claiming to be “media” – when he is often on company time – everyone gets ugly about it.

    Why is it that I cannot question his materials and methods when he questions mine? What a weird double standard.

    Perhaps you folks can stop dumping on me and take the issue up with Jeff. He’s been silent on this.

    And thanks for the nice words, BTW. Perhaps you will understand just how seriously I take protecting my sources.

  • Habitat Hermit

    Well you haven’t given Jeff a reason to do any correction.

    You claim “People who hide behind fake names have something to hide.” and that’s certainly true, in my case that “something” is my identity. That might seem odd and unwarranted to you but I get to decide and that’s my decision.

    Then you turn around a show outrage at the mere possibility that the rest of us might apply a similar sentiment towards your source.

    So what you’re doing is that you criticize those who post anonymously while defending your right to protect the anonymity of your sources? I guess you don’t realize what that makes you look like.

  • Habitat Hermit

    That should read “…turn around and show…”.

  • Keith Cowing

    Mr/Ms Hermit:

    By all means remain anonymous. I am more familiar with the concept and the reasons than you are.

    Say hello to your cousin Herman for me.

  • Habitat Hermit

    Instead of behaving like an obnoxious twit you could simply point out the likely clarification of things, one way or the other, when the Obama campaign releases their official (or new) policy.

    Completely unrelated what’s with your “cousin Herman” nonsense? And you’ll simply sound far too snotty if you address me as Mr. ^_^

  • Keith Cowing

    “Instead of behaving like an obnoxious twit you could simply point out the likely clarification of things, one way or the other, when the Obama campaign releases their official (or new) policy.”

    And name calling serves what purpose? Please enlighten me in this regard. If you were trying to make a point about online demeanor you just lost it.

    “Completely unrelated what’s with your “cousin Herman” nonsense? And you’ll simply sound far too snotty if you address me as Mr. ^_^”

    You were obviously not alive in the 1960s (or listening to the radio). As for your gender (Mr. vs Ms.), that was not obvious from your anonymous posting.

  • Matthew Corey Brown

    Some how I think there is more than one way to define “Leaked.”

  • Keith Cowing

    It was not “leaked”.

    Foust does not care about inaccuracies on his website.

  • It all depends on what the definition of “is” is :D

  • Matthew Corey Brown

    Then what is your definition of leaked?

  • Space4Earth

    lets get back on point, shall we. Space exploration is valuable, period for what we learn while doing the exploration and what we learn while preparing to get there. Human and robots both have their advantages and disadvantages and should be used in a complimentary fashion. A robot will miss features and paterns that a human will see. The human is versatile enough to respond in new and creative ways.

    Space also has potential resources that can be mined and used on earth – space for earth.

    I don’t ever want to see another comment like ” billions for space … solve problems on Earth” unless it is backed up by hard analysis. How many billions ? 500, 100, 10, 1 versus how many will be helped and how much per person helped. Pitting one againts the other is a false argument. We are strong and capable enouogh to do both.

  • the space on the side where it said general i want to remove it the but not the info

  • beowulf2700

    we need to restart manned exploration NOW. not a decade from now

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