Obama Visits Florida – But Not Space Coast

President Barack Obama waves to the media after attending a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser. Photo Credit: Julian Leek

ORLANDO, Fla – President Barack Obama visited the Sunshine State Thursday evening for a fund-raising dinner that cost $30,000 a plate. All total, Obama made four stops in Florida, including Miami and Orlando – but made no stops to Florida’s Space Coast. Senator Bill Nelson and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Chairwoman for the Democratic National Committee traveled with the president on the trip from Miami. 

While on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama made references to NASA’s program-of-record, Constellation, and promised to support it. Once elected – he attempted repeatedly to scrap all elements of the program. Eventually a compromise was made with Congress that saw elements of the program saved in various forms. 

The usual 747s that transport the president where he needs to go were down for maintenance - leaving Obama to travel on one of the 757s in the presidential fleet. Photo Credit: Julian Leek

Florida’s Space Coast has been severely impacted by economic hard times. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average, hovering between 10 and 12 percent. Many businesses in the area have gone out of business and workers who once worked to send spacecraft to orbit and beyond – have fled the area in search of work that no longer exists at Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. 

For the president’s visit, both of the iconic 747s that the president normally travels in – were down for scheduled maintenance. The president traveled in a 757.  After arriving at Orlando International Airport (OIA) Obama was transported in a motorcade that consisted of some 22 vehicles to the home of National Basketball Association (NBA) player Vince Carter for the fundraiser which was attended by 70 people. After the dinner Obama left OIA directly for Washington D.C.

Although Obama ensured that he stopped to attend a $30,000 a-plate fundraiser - he failed to visit Florida's Space Coast which has been hit by hard economic times due to the one-two punch of the space shuttle's retirement and cancellation of the Constellation Program. Photo Credit: Julian Leek
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  1. This loser shouldn’t be in office for 4 more years !!! He just doesn’t care and people should realize that !!!

  2. Sorry Jake, but that is our president you are talking about. Calling him a loser disrespect the office of the presidency.

    As for the article, it is clearly not representing the facts. Obama never said he’d support Constellation (and it didn’t deserve support, anyway). Obama has been trying to support NASA, despite entrenched Congressional interest.

    • Mr. Valyn – when a group of aerospace workers are told that if elected Obama will support their efforts to go to “the Moon, Mars and Beyond” – which was the mantra of the VSE/Constellation Program and which is what he said during his Space Coast stop on the campaign trail – it left little doubt what he was talking about. The 10-12 percent of the Brevard County population who were forced into the unemployment office by Obama’s betrayal – beg to differ.

      As for what does or does not deserve support. Who are you to decide? Only those things you back deserve support? Wow! Let’s see, you’ve adapted the president’s words to make them avoid the facts, and displayed a distasteful chunk of personal arrogance. Why should anyone listen to what you have to say? My advice, watch the video of Obama’s Brevard visit – and listen. Moon, Mars and Beyond – will never translate into “Commercial Efforts” no matter how often you listen to it – even in Mandarin or French.

    • Ferris,

      You’ve played that old saw, and have been proved wrong whenever you do. As Reagan used to say, “There he goes again”.

      I was in Florida, I was lead for the McCain campaign’s Florida space outreach, and everyone, from those of us opposing him, to Obama’s space support group, including FL Sen. Bill Nelson and Obama’s campaign staffer Lori Garver, knew what he was saying, and what the people would hear, when he gave his Titusville speech. He said he was going to shrink the Shuttle gap. If not with Ares I Orion ( can you say Constellation?), then what? And don’t say commercial crew because that wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye in August 2008.

      In the view of those such as Bill Nelson, the President did a 180 degree turn from his Titusville speech when in February 2010 he tried to end our national human spaceflight program. It is for that reason that there was such energetic and successful opposition from Sen. Bill Nelson that in large part resulted in the new HSF program we are fortunate to have today.

      Josef Stalin once said that if you tell a lie often enough, it can become the truth. Ferris, this site was started, and continues, in large part because we will not let lies morph into truth, no matter how hard you and other apologists for the President’s failed attempt to neuter our nation’s human space flight program try to say otherwise.

  3. Mr. Rhian,

    The fact that you weren’t paying close attention to what was being said is not my fault. And I will admit, I am very carefully parsing words. But in the world of space policy, one learns that word parsing isn’t just necessary, its life and death. BTW, this aerospace worker was cheering BECAUSE it didn’t include Constellation – it separated great destinations from unaffordable architecture.

    Therefore, the fact that he never said the words Constellation or Ares I, in either his speech or his white paper should have told you something.

    As for what deserves our support – I think Augustine committee answered that, in spades.

    Go look at the campaign white paper that came out with the speech – you’ll see Commercial Efforts tied to Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and Constellation not

    • Mr. Valyn – Anyone can watch Obama say he will support “Moon, Mars and Beyond” during his 2008 campaign stop in Brevard County. By continuing to assert he didn’t – means you’re intentionally distorting the truth.

      So that everyone here can see your lack of “attention” – below they can watch the president say exactly what I stated he did – in my first reply to you. At 1:51 in Obama promises to “close the gap” – apparently by extending it a decade or so. At 2:48 he discusses “exploring the solar system” How? by cutting NASA’s planetary budget by 20 percent? Worst of all – at 3:02 – “Moon, Mars and Beyond.” In short – your president just made a liar out of you.


      Again, like Obama, you try to switch subjects and distort fact. I made no mention of some elitist-academic white paper – just the words he spoke on the campaign trail. As I stated in my first reply – “when a group of aerospace workers are told that if elected Obama will support their efforts to go to “the Moon, Mars and Beyond” – which was the mantra of the VSE/Constellation Program and which is what he said during his Space Coast stop on the campaign trail – it left little doubt what he was talking about.” White Papers – don’t matter to honest working folks – only people like you.

      Augustine? Seriously? It was a commission that had the most narrowly-defined choices as to what they could offer in human history – and that is going to be your holy grail?

      Mr. Valyn, you’ve developed a reputation as a shill for the left as well as anything to do with NewSpace. You call those that point out the “inconvenient truths” liars or folks that aren’t paying “attention.” A close review of the Obama’s own words – highlight that this is actually your problem – not theirs. Where I come from – their is a name for folks guilty of wagging fingers at folks for crimes they themselves are guilty of. As such – whatever you might have to say – has no value. Do not sir, come on here with your hypocrisy – I’m your worst nightmare – someone that does not forget the broken promises, someone that records your president’s own words and someone that will hold you accountable for making statements like the ones that you seem prone to. AmericaSpace – is for a nation that explores and it is also for people open to a civil debate – but given your comments – neither of these define you. If you cannot handle folks that have a different opinion than yours (and worst the evidence to back it up) – then simply go to a website that feeds your own pet beliefs.

      Sincerely and with warmest regards, Jason Rhian

      • I will keep this short, since I know this blog doesn’t like responses that are longer than the blog post

        1. I submit that he intentionally separated the destination from the architecture, by saying destinations, not Constellation.

        2. close the gap refers to ISS access. Everyone knew that was a problem. That wasn’t something specific to Constellation. That was a result of Constellation

        3. That wasn’t some “elitists academic white paper” – This was also a campaign statement. You add it with his with his speech. I assumed you, being a reporter, included it in your sources. Here it is, in case you don’t’ have it – http://www.fladems.com/page/-/Obama_Space.pdf

        4. Augustine had quite free reign. They just actually had to deal with budgets as they were.

        5. You aren’t anywhere close to my “worst nightmare.”

        6. The issue isn’t “differing opinions. There are 2 issues. One is historical accuracy. The second is what is NASA about – trying to recreate Apollo glory, or trying to settle space. I want the latter.

        Look, its very simple to prove me wrong. Show me, at what time stamp, he says Ares I or Constellation. Not destinations, but the architecture.

        • In 2008 ISS access meant only one thing–Constellation. That’s because the only other rude was via the Russians, which was the gap that everyone wanted closed.

          We have video if the President’s in our Resources area. Having worked against the guy in Florida, I know it by heart because I spent my days refuting it. Remember, the Titusville speech came after a lot of lobbying by FL Senator Bill Nelson for Obama to reverse his Constellation position as evidenced by his Nov. 22, 2007 education paper that, on the last page, last paragraph, delayed Constellation.

          I you had access to either Democratic or Republican Congressional space staffers, you’d know the fallacy of the statement that Augustine had free reign. Ms. Garver, Shawcross, and Holdren made sure that between the members of the Committee and their staffers that NASA would get the least favorable, and commercial space the most favorable, treatment.

          If you can’t put yourself in historical context, then as long as you’re not a historian or history buff, you’re doing that at which you’re much more talented.

          • No, Jim, ISS access did NOT mean one thing. You had the COTS-D option, which SpaceX certainly had been pursuing. You had Bigelow working Orion-lite, and talking about using Atlas Vs to deliver crew.

            BTW, I remember both the education piece, and the rally speech. Do you remember the bit in between? The campaign statements in between? Because to talk about historical context, without mentioning that, would seem to me as ignoring history.

            As for your conspiracy theories – please.

    • Mr. Valyn,

      One final note. I’m neither a poitician nor a lawyer – I don’t “parse words” – nor do I try do determine the future by reading tea leaves. When someone says something – they should be held accountable. If they say – “Read my lips – no new taxes” – and then they raise taxes – they broke a promise. Likewise when they say they will close the gap, support human and robotic exploration of the solar system… Moon, Mars and Beyond – and then try to cancel everything? They too broke a promise.

      When I initially addressed your comments – I did so as any normal person would – using the most commonly-known comments from your president. You in turn took it to the obscure, mentioning the white paper on the subject. The average, normal citizen doesn’t read white papers – they go to rallies and they listen to what potential condidates say. Despite this – you tried to switch one – to the other.

      I’m sure you will try to validate this – but given your attempt to prove your point by denying the president ever said what he did – it shows you won’t listen to anything I have to say anyway. Also? As a reporter I have to read tons of dry white-papers and dissertations. This makes your point-of-view worse because it means despite the existence of these written documents Obama came down here and “parsed” his words to get the votes – even though there was written proof he had no intention of doing what he said he would.

      I guess that just depends on what your definition of “is” is…

      Sincerely, Jason

      • I am sorry you don’t parse words. Its a tool that has served me well. As for “normal person” – the white paper I site isn’t some obscure thing. It was a major campaign statement about space. An average Joe, who doesn’t care about space, I understand if he doesn’t read it. But if you are an average joe who works in the space industry – forgive me, but I’d sit up and take notice when a campaign issues a 7 page statement about space, along with the rally speeches. But then, thats just me.

  4. You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I’d never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am having a look forward to your subsequent publish, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

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