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Obama camp, Dems swipe at Mitt Romney over space policy

After 60 Minutes took President Obama to task over his broken promises regarding the space program, the Republican National Committee piled on. Today, Obama's campaign hit back, pointing out that Republican Mitt Romney would be worse for the space program.

From a transcript of a call with Obama supporter and Cocoa Mayor Michael Blake said:

“Florida is a unique state.  It is a place that turns curiosity into discovery..... the President continues to support space exploration by requesting higher funding for NASA and supporting the development of a new vehicle for human space flight. We don’t just defend programs like NASA because of our commitment to exploration in Florida, but because of how important the space industry is to Florida’s economy.

“Sadly, Mitt Romney and the GOP value pandering to Florida voters more than defending an institution that not only has helped define us as a nation, but pushes our curiosity as children and grows our understanding as adults. Mitt Romney and the GOP hope to make enough noise to distract Floridians from their plans to slash funding for programs that matter to voters – programs like Social Security and Medicare, and our nation’s space program. Romney has proposed cutting taxes by $5 trillion, balancing the budget, and increasing defense spending.  Meeting all these promise would require huge cuts outside defense.  If these cuts were made to all programs equally, it would mean over $4.5 billion in cuts for in America's space program. If that wasn’t bad enough, Romney has repeatedly stressed he’d make no promises about funding for the space program or the future direction of NASA. When it comes to NASA and space exploration, it is clear that Mitt Romney is completely wrong on the issue and out of touch with the Space Coast.

 “As the Mayor of Cocoa, I see firsthand how important investments in human space flight affect our economy in the Space Coast, but more importantly as a teacher, I work with students inspired by the space exploration to reach for the stars. Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, we have seen the United States of America embark on an ambitious new direction for NASA, laying the groundwork for a sustainable program of exploration and innovation. And it’s important to remember the history:  The Bush Administration in 2004 made the decision to end the Space Shuttle program while President Obama extended the program's life by adding two Space Shuttle launches to the manifest. An independent commission found that the previous Administration's plan for human spaceflight in the post-Shuttle era was not viable under any feasible budget scenario. President Obama has tasked NASA with an ambitious vision for human spaceflight that will take American astronauts beyond where we've ever been before - with the ultimate goal being a human mission to Mars.

 “This new direction extends the life of the International Space Station, supports the growing commercial space industry, and addresses important scientific challenges while continuing our commitment to robust human space exploration, science, and aeronautics programs. For generations, the space program has fueled jobs and entire industries.  The space program has improved our lives, advanced our society, strengthened our economy, and inspired generations of Americans. This is exactly why it is so essential that we pursue a new course and that we revitalize NASA and its mission—not just with dollars, but also with clear aims and a larger purpose.  Unlike the Republicans, who continue fighting for polices that would cripple NASA, President Obama has also requested increased and stable funding—more than the Congress has appropriated.

“President Obama has fought to minimize the space flight gap that he inherited from the previous administration. He has fought to help the Space Coast, and has brought new hope to our nation’s space program. And now we see the President’s vision for NASA and polices that promote space travel starting to bring jobs to Florida. We saw that when NASA announced that Boeing and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have entered into a partnership that is expected to produce 550 jobs by 2015.

“At the end of the day, add the issue of NASA and the Space Coast to the laundry list of topics where Mitt Romney is out of touch with what we as a nation need to accomplish. Right now we have a leader in office who supports long-term job growth by increasing investment in research and technology and educating the next generation of technology leaders. There is no amount of noise that should distract us from the commitment that our President has made not only to the space program, but to the people of Florida.”