There was a little frisson online this evening as people watching the video introducing Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama noticed Obama mentioned seeing Apollo astronauts return to Hawaii with his grandfather. His grandfather told him, Obama recalled, that this was evidence that Americans could do anything they put their minds to. Naturally, space enthusiasts got all excited: Obama’s talking about space (if indirectly) at the convention!
Of course, this is hardly the first time Obama has told that story.
He did use it in preface to his discussion of space policy in Titusville early this month, as this video shows:
(Scroll ahead to about 25 seconds in). What he said then:
I still remember sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders as some of the astronauts were brought in after their capsules had landed in the middle of the Pacific. And I could just barely see them; I was waving at them an American flag. And I remember my grandfather explaining to me, “This is what America’s all about, we can do anything when we put out minds to it.”
Obama also used the same anecdote in a major speech in late June on patriotism in Missouri:
One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders and watching the astronauts come to shore in Hawaii. I remember the cheers and small flags that people waved, and my grandfather explaining how we Americans could do anything we set our minds to do. That’s my idea of America.
So be careful about reading too much into that little story in the video.