President Bush Visits Cleveland, Ohio - NASA Excerpts


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Q Mr. President, like this world-class health care institution, NASA Glenn is one of the crown jewels, along with the talented people there, in our new economy crown. As you know, we recently won the crew exploration vehicle contract. We're very happy about that. Given all the competing demands for resources in Washington, what kind of funding do you see for NASA and its mission going forward?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. That's an awkward question to ask a Texan. (Laughter.) I think that NASA needed to become relevant in order to be -- to justify the spending of your money, and therefore, I helped changed the mission from one of orbiting in a space shuttle -- in a space station to one of becoming a different kind of group of explorers. And therefore, we set a new mission, which is to go to the moon and set up a launching there from which to further explore space.

And the reason I did that is, I do want to make sure the American people stay involved with -- or understand the relevance of this exploration. I'm a big -- I support exploration, whether it be the exploration of new medicine -- that would be like NIH grants -- the exploration of space through NASA. I can't give you the exact level of funding.

I would argue with you that we got a lot of money in Washington -- not argue, I'll just tell you, we got a lot of money in Washington. (Laughter.) And we need to make sure we set priorities with that money. One of the problems we have in Washington is that unlike the books I saw at the hospital -- of which, you're on the board -- that said "results", we're not very good about measuring results when we spend your money. A lot of time the program sound nice; a lot of time the results don't match the intentions.

So one of the things I've tried to do through the OMB is to be results-oriented, and when programs don't meet results, we try to eliminate them. And that's hard to do. Isn't it, Steve? Yes. But, no -- I believe in exploration, space exploration. And we changed the mission to make it relevant. Thanks.

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