Campaign '08

Phantom cuts, part 2

The Wall Street Journal has the first (or one of the first) online reports about John McCain’s speech in Melbourne, Florida where the Republican presidential candidate planned to mention space. And, as expected, McCain offered an extra $2 billion for NASA for reducing the Shuttle-Constellation gap. The full text of the speech hasn’t appeared yet on the McCain-Palin 2008 web site, but the WSJ report indicates that it was “nearly identical” to the speech he gave earlier Friday in Miami, replacing a paragraph in the Miami speech about Cuban relations with one about space.

The bits provided in the WSJ report indicate McCain played up China’s activities in space as a motivator for the US to press ahead. “My friends, we just saw the Chinese. We saw them in space,” McCain was quoted as saying. “We’ve got competition. We’ve got to stay ahead. We will be the first nation to Mars.”

Curiously, he also said this: “If I’m elected president I won’t cut NASA funds like Sen. Obama.” Obama, of course, reversed course in August on an earlier plan to delay NASA’s Constellation program by five years to help pay for his education program, and has also proposed adding $2 billion to NASA’s budget, something that, ironically, the Republican National Committee included in its “liberal fiscal agenda” charge against Obama.

3 comments to Phantom cuts, part 2

  • Justin Treptow

    I’ve been attempting to determine the VPs actual role with NASA. As I understand it the VP while not managing the agency is directly responsible for it.

    Also a $2 billion increase to NASA doesn’t seem so large any more since the $800 billion buy out.

  • There is no formal role for the VP with regard to NASA. There is a traditional one, though, going back to Lyndon Johnson, and when there was a Space Council, the VP led it. But it’s completely up to the administration.

  • Justin Treptow

    Thanks for the clarification.

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