On Monday Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry made a campaign stop at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) [story]. Kerry was accompanied by former Ohio Senator John Glenn and Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Bob Graham. Photos taken of this visit depict Kerry and others wearing so called "bunny suits" which are required of all visitors entering a space shuttle orbiter in the Shuttle Processing Facility.
Bumbling by Kerry's staff, and a press corps itching for something to make fun of, and a perfect photo opportunity turns into a media nightmare. The net loser? NASA.
Now, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel has told NASA to remove all images of Kerry's visit to KSC from all NASA web sites - immediately - due to Hatch Act concerns. These images have now been removed.
CLARIFICATION 1:00 PM EDT: NASA sources are now saying that NASA's General Counsel ordered the images removed - not the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
YET ANOTHER CLARIFICATION 4:00 PM EDT: After reviewing all of the Kerry photos to ensure NASA's apolitical position, NASA has decided to put the photos of John Kerry in the OPF back online. The photos of the political rally at the KSC visitors center will remain offline.
Just as you think this silly story is going away some bureaucrat finds a way to breathe new life back into it.
Meanwhile, a Kerry space advisor is publicly dismissing President Bush's space policy. The following was posted on the Yahoo group kerryspace. Former NASA Associate Adminstrator for Policy and Plans Lori Garver (Yahoo ID astromom2004) is in Boston and told people at a reception the other night that she is working on space policy issues for John Kerry.
From: "Lori Garver" < lgarver@d... >
Date: Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:17 am
Subject: RE: [kerryspace] Come Celebrate Kerry's Great VP Choice, Edwards!
Please don't write-off the Kerry-Edwards camp on space. The Bush initiative is simply hot-air and has made it impossible in an election year for Kerry to say much on space. What he has said -- will support increased funding for NASA R&D, will support Prizes, a more genuinely international effort, etc... is already more than most Presidential Candidates. It took Bush 3.5 years and a tragic Shuttle accident to come up with a policy. Democrats will be able to pull-off a better record -- if not rhetoric! Totally agree on futility of ISS as pharmacy source and need to retire Shuttle -- Kerry can be convinced of this, but perhaps not in the campaign. The Moon-Mars Blitz was a good way for Congress to see citizens supporting space -- always a good thing.