Space Mentioned in Presidential Primary Debate, But the Past Not the Future

Space Mentioned in Presidential Primary Debate, But the Past Not the Future

Space program aficionados wishing that the Presidential candidates would spend more time talking about their space policies did not get their wish at last night’s Republican primary debate, but two of the speakers did mention the space program — references to the past, not the future.

In a discussion about foreign policy, Dr. Ben Carson said that after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he advised former President George W. Bush, a friend, to emulate President John F. Kennedy when the Russians were ahead of the United States in the space race — “use the bully pulpit to galvanize everybody, business, industry, academia behind a national goal to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely.”   Carson wanted Bush to declare that the United States would become energy independent to persuade moderate Arab countries to turn over Osama bin Laden rather than go to war in Afghanistan.  Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who is polling second (behind Donald Trump) among likely Republican voters. 

Kennedy’s Moon goal was also used as a positive example by former Gov. Mike Huckabee during a debate about whether vaccinations cause autism.  Huckabee expanded the discussion to other medical issues — finding cures for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s because they are so costly.  “John Kennedy said ‘we’ll go to the Moon in a decade and bring a man back” and we did it. I grew up in the ’50s. I remember the polio vaccine. We saved billions of dollars since that time because we haven’t had to treat polio. Why doesn’t this country focus on cures rather than treatment?”  Huckabee is about sixth (or lower) in the polls.

There was no hint as to whether they or any of the other candidates would support another Apollo-like program to achieve space goals.

This was the second of the Republican presidential primary debates and was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA.  Carson and Huckabee were among the 11 contenders in the main debate at 8:00 pm ET.   Four lower-polling candidates had a debate two hours earlier.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.