Coinciding with the release of a space policy white paper by the Mitt Romney campaign, his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), mentioned space in a campaign appearance in Orlando:
The space program strengthens the entrepreneurial spirit and commercial competitiveness. It launches new industries and new technologies. President Obama campaigned quite a bit around Florida on the Space Coast in 2008 and made lots of promises. This is one of those other broken promises. We have presided over a dismantling of the space program over the last four years. He has put the space program on a path where we are conceding our global position as the unequivocal leader in space. Today, if we want to send an astronaut to the space station, we have to pay the Russians to take them there. [boos] China may someday be looking down on us from the Moon. That’s unacceptable. Mitt Romney and I believe that America must lead in space. [applause] Mitt Romney and I believe we need a mission for NASA, a mission for space program, and we also believe that this is an integral part of our national security.
Since it came up both in Ryan’s speech and the white paper, it’s worth remembering that the reliance on the Russians for access to the ISS is something that predates the Obama Administration: under the Bush Administration’s Vision for Space Exploration and NASA’s implementation of it, there was always a planned gap of several years between the retirement of the shuttle (in 2010) and the introduction of a replacement transportation system (by 2014 in the original VSE documents, a date that was slipping to the right as NASA worked on Orion and Ares 1.)
Also, as in the white paper, Ryan doesn’t indicate what the “mission for NASA” should be, other than that it should be a different one than under the current administration.