Central Florida News 13, a cable news channel serving Orlando and surrounding areas, took advantage of visits this week by presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to speak at the VFW convention there to interview them, including asking them about space policy. (The McCain interview was even performed with a Mercury capsule replica in the background).
The McCain interview saves the space question for the very end, asking him for “your definite whatever people need to know” about where he stands on space:
I stand for not cutting any of the NASA budget, which Senator Obama proposed and then reversed himself, as he has on a number of things. I think we have to give a national priority to our efforts on the Moon, the International Space Shuttle [sic], and Mars. Americans are excited about these. We can excite them again. And it is a national security issue, when you look at the competition from both Russia and China. Space still is the last frontier. We have to continue to lead.
The Obama interview took up space earlier, and was apparently important enough to the station that they provided the transcript of that portion of the interview, discussing why he reversed his earlier decision to delay Constellation:
I’m not going to make a proposal unless I know how to pay for it, and in one of our earlier proposals, we had looked at extending the Constellation program longer, and stretching it out so that we could take some of that money to pay for education programs.
In consultation with space community here in Orlando and around the country, my conclusion is that we have to have that in place to have a transition from the space shuttle to the next generation of space exploration.