Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, on the campaign trail in Georgia Saturday, again mentioned space policy, putting the blame for the current state of the nation’s civil space program squarely on the Obama Administration. The AP reports that Cain, addressing young Republicans in Atlanta, contrasted President Kennedy with Obama, calling Kennedy a “great leader” for pushing to send humans to the Moon while criticizing Obama for “canceling a major part of our space program.”
Cain also criticized the administration for forcing the US to rely on Russians to access the ISS for at least the next several years. “I can tell you that as president of the United States, we are not going to bum a ride to outer space with Russia,” the AP quotes Cain as saying. “We’re going to regain our rightful place in terms of technology, space technology.”
The AP article does some factchecking, noting that the decision to retire the Space Shuttle dates back to 2004 and President George W. Bush. However, it’s not clear that Cain was referring to the decision to retire the shuttle, as the quotes in the article don’t explicitly mention the shuttle, only that President Obama had canceled “a major part of our space program.” While Obama did not cancel the shuttle, he did announce plans to cancel Constellation in February 2010, a decision affirmed by Congress in the NASA authorization act of 2010. Cain also did not discuss what he would do differently if elected president: “Cain did not explain how he thinks the United States should explore outer space and did not take questions from reporters afterward,” the AP article noted.
This is not the first time Cain has made such comments. Speaking in Alabama a couple weeks ago, Cain also blamed President Obama for having to “bum a ride with the Russians”. Last month he also vowed that he would “relaunch our space program” to eliminate reliance on Russia, but in neither case discussed any details about how he would do that.