NASA, White House

Bolden: “no truth in the rumors” about impending nomination

Throughout the day Friday news reports, like this AP report, indicated that it was virtually a done deal: Charles Bolden would meet with President Obama on Monday, and very shortly thereafter—maybe even that day—would be formally nominated to become NASA administrator. While the early reports were based on anonymous sources, that appear to be confirmed by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in a press conference Friday afternoon:

Q And on Monday, Robert, will there be a NASA administrator announcement?

MR. GIBBS: I think you know that the President will meet with somebody that he hopes will — wants to meet with somebody about filling the important role of future NASA administrator.

Q Charles Bolden?

MR. GIBBS: He will meet with him on Monday, and we’ll see how that goes.

So it looks like a done deal: everyone’s saying Bolden will meet with the President and, most likely, be nominated. Until, that is, someone managed to talk with Bolden himself.

Space News reached Bolden on Friday and got a surprising response when asking Bolden about that planned meeting and nomination:

However, reached by phone May 15, Bolden told Space News he had not been asked to take the job and had no plans to meet with White House officials to discuss it.

“I am hearing the rumors, and as far as I know there is no truth in the rumors,” Bolden said. “You can’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when you haven’t had a conversation. I haven’t had that conversation and I don’t have one scheduled.”

So what’s going on? Is Bolden really not in contention? Has the White House simply not gotten around to asking Bolden to come meet the President on Monday? Or was their some kind of miscommunication between the reporter and Bolden?

8 comments to Bolden: “no truth in the rumors” about impending nomination

  • common sense

    Could it be that he will ask Bolden to be on the Augustine panel?…

    But note that Gibbs did NOT say he will meet with “Bolden”, he said “him” as in “I think you know that the President will meet with somebody”, i.e. finishing his sentence without any further acknowledgement…

    It’d be really odd that the WH says will meet Bolden and Bolden says “I don’t know what you’re talking about”, unless he was instructed so by the WH and has not received the green light…

    Ah… World of possibilities %^)

  • r heer

    General Bolden would be a good choice. However, would he accept the job offer? Read his interview on the JSC Oral history web site that was conducted in 2004. It doesn’t look like he was very happy at all when he spent time as an Acting Deputy NASA Administrator. Also, he was not at all happy with being in Washington.

  • sc220

    I would go with Bolden’s statement. Obviously, there is a miscommunication here. If Bolden had been tapped, he would have made himself scarce or given an oblique answer.

  • Habitat Hermit

    AP couldn’t be bothered to verify their story, as usual. Dross.

  • Doug Lassiter

    Well, a conversation to talk to Boldin about his nomination may not be scheduled, but it seems that a conversation to talk about a NASA administrator is. Not surprising that such a conversation would broach the subject of Boldin being offered the job, whether that’s a scheduled topic or not. So there isn’t any blatant inconsistency here.

    I can easily imagine what Boldin’s concerns are. He needs to know if he’d be called on simply to oversee the death of Constellation, or something else. Certainly, if Constellation is going to get killed, and if the fate of U.S. human spaceflight is at issue and a new direction on that needs to be organized, NASA simply has to have an astronaut at the helm. Ideally a smart and politically astute one. But Boldin doesn’t want to step into a position where the job just comes down to dismantling the U.S. human spaceflight program. So the question he’s waiting to ask is, “OK, suppose the Augustine panel finds Constellation to be unworkable, and other options seem to be technically workable. What would you allow me to do, and what could I look to you to strongly support?”

  • If not Bolden, then who? For those interested, please throw out a name and explain why.

  • Anon

    The Obama Administration – change we can believe it.

    Don’t like their policy position, just wait a day or two and like the weather it will change.

    Don’t like their NASA Administrator candidate, just wait a day or two and it will change.

    In the old days we would call that indecisiveness. Now we proclaim it as leadership….

    I hope the bouncing ball settles on Bolden, he looks like he has the background to be a good administrator, but we will see where Obama’s roulette wheel model of decision leaves NASA.

    Place your bets now before the decision ball stops :-)

  • Charles In Houston

    Maybe Charlie Bolden will be picked for the Supreme Court?

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