December 20th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama names science and technology team

Obama named his science team Saturday.

Obama named his science team Saturday.

(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama named his science and technology team Saturday with a pledge to ensure that “facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.”

“It’s time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America’s place as the world leader in science and technology,” he said in his Saturday radio address, in an apparent offhand swipe at President Bush.

“It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient,” Obama said, adding that government support had been essential for the greatest scientific breakthroughs of recent history, like the development of the Internet. “Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us."

Obama announced that Harvard University professor John Holdren will serve as assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Environmental scientist and marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University was his pick for administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The president-elect also named Nobel Prize-winning Harold Varmus, a former Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Eric Lander of MIT and Harvard, a leader of the Human Genome Project, as co-chairs of the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. John

    Wow CNN....what a swipe at President Bush

    December 20, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Marie,San Diego

    It seems that a great majority of the appointed officials by the new prez are Harvard grads. I'm optimistic with the new government and hopefully, these Einsteins' will perform better than the last bunch.

    Happy Holidays!

    December 20, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. eph

    Wow - scientists in charge of the science and technology team - a totally unfamiliar concept over the past 8 years. Sad, though, as the McCain/Palin transition team would surely have found a spot on this team for Levi'smom. After all, she ran her own lab for years...

    December 20, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Jessica Grimes From Dallas

    yes, but its also about understanding that just because science allows us to do things doesn't mean we should.....just because something is permissible does not mean it is beneficial for us and society.

    December 20, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA


    December 20, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Nina

    save the economy, drpo all congress salary to 100,000 a year.
    After all, they are a public service and they all claim they are doing it for the cause. If they can't deal with it someone else will step up !!

    December 20, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. bj

    Maybe this new science and technology team can do something about Obama's dopey looking ears!!

    December 20, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. Hope

    It is time to declare middle east oil irrelevant, we are ready to put Natural Gas in our cars anything but the middle eastern oil.

    December 20, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Dem in Utah

    Just goes to show what a world we live in now (thanks Bush) when a headline is about the president (elect) believing in scientific research. It is, however, refreshing that the next leader of our country has cracked a book in the last few decades.

    December 20, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Charles Fritsch

    Fortunately, Barack Obama is far beyond taking swipes at George Bush, the worst president in history.

    December 20, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. David in Atlanta

    I support Obama 100% but when will people without connectiions get a chance, like myself?

    I wanted to become to one who recited a poem at the inauguration but didn't even get a call. I am not happy with that although I still support my President. I just feel that people without the contacts and networking capability should get an opportunity as well.

    Please visit youtube and search for "thinkverybig" and watch all of my videos.

    Also, please check out and

    December 20, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. Saj

    Jab at Bush? Really!? Where?

    I think that the headline at the jump does not match the content of the story. I think that CNN is trying to find controversy and scandal where there are aren't. Another MSM low... d

    December 20, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Frank

    Amen Brother Barry! Time to run the screechers and zealots out of Dc and return the US to a law abiding FREEDOM to have or to care less about religion and its selective values.

    December 20, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Donna Connecticut

    Let's hope that his science team will truly make sure that "facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or idealogy." The fact is that over the last 10 years the earth has been COOLING, not warming. These changes are cyclical; in the 1970's, scientists were warning us about the earth getting COLDER and what we needed to do to stop it. Let's hope they are truly honest and not just listen to Al Gore and those followers who say that the "debate is over" about global warming. The earth is millions of years old and Gore and his crew only analyzed data over a few hundred year time span.

    December 20, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. FreeNLovIt

    Yes, since 1994, when the ELEPHANTS took over Congress and until now, science has been underfunded. We are, according to the scientists, 15 years behind. EU now has CERN, the most advanced subatomic research center. Science fueled the developments of MRI Scan, the internet and your microwaves. Our national security depends on being #1 and being on the forefront of understanding the evolutions of science. Hopefully, we can beat the race again.

    December 20, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Me

    Let's hope they understand that maybe it's not such a good thing that the US allows its corporations to lay off their scientists, engineers, IT talent in order to give those jobs to people in foreign countries.

    December 20, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. seg from houston

    you go, Obama . . . but where are the funds coming from?

    December 20, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Mason

    Wow...real life science and facts.
    About time.

    December 20, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. SamHouston, Clarendon, Texas

    Thank God we're getting rid of the NO BRAINER George W. Bush come January 20, 2009 and his cronies.
    This group of idiots in the last eight years have done more harm not only to our country but the rest of the world.

    December 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. Crazy Cat Lady

    How refreshing to have a president who believes in knowledge and reason!

    December 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Nina

    why aren't we hearing this! This is on the US labor board. Unemployment rate is not bad! Media are making it worse not telling the accurate news!! Shame on you.

    In November, nonfarm payroll employment rose in 9 states and fell
    in 41 states plus the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-
    month gains in the level of employment were recorded in Washington
    (+17,400) where some 27,000 aerospace workers ended their strike and
    returned to payrolls, Texas (+7,300), Oklahoma (+3,000), and Alaska
    (+2,500). Alaska reported the largest over-the-month percentage gain
    in employment (+0.8 percent), followed by Washington (+0.6 percent)
    and Hawaii, North Dakota, and Oklahoma (+0.2 percent each). The larg-
    est over-the-month decrease in the level of employment was recorded
    in Florida (-58,600), followed by North Carolina (-46,000), California
    (-41,700), Michigan (-36,900), and Georgia (-30,000). North Carolina
    reported the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment
    (-1.1 percent), followed by Michigan (-0.9 percent), Idaho and Rhode
    Island (-0.8 percent each), and Florida, Georgia, and Nebraska (-0.7
    percent each). Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 14 states
    and the District of Columbia and decreased in 36 states. Wyoming
    recorded the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment
    (+2.8 percent), followed by Texas (+2.1 percent), North Dakota (+1.4
    percent), and Alaska, Oklahoma, and South Dakota (+1.1 percent each).
    The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred
    in Rhode Island (-3.7 percent), followed by Arizona (-3.1 percent),
    Idaho and Michigan (-2.7 percent each), and Florida (-2.6 percent).

    December 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Joe

    I wouldn't really call that an "offhand swipe at Bush." What Obama just said is true, and there's no need for news networks to dramatize it.

    December 20, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Chuck Case

    We must be careful when making decisions about "Truth". Whose truth are we talking about? We also must be careful not to go all to one view or another to find it, but rather there is a balance to be struck. This does not mean tolerance. Tolerance is accepting something even though it may not be true. Rather we need to be open to all the information that is available and then work to understand what is really true and not just theory. However science does not give us moral understanding (truth). To that, this country, since its founding, has looked to God for that insight. For example, our constitution and laws are built upon Biblical understanding and moral values.

    December 20, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. dan

    wait until the Comrade taxes us to death and institutes carbon credits. God help us when the Messiah takes over. At least Europe will be happy with the pussified direction we are taking.

    December 20, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. Brian

    I don't think this is any type of jab towards President Bush. I think reality really has set in on Obama and he realizes Bush has done a great job in office keeping the United States safe along with hundreds of other accomplishments. Perhaps CNN dosen't yet want to admit this so they attempt to make Bush look like the devil once again!

    December 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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