December 20th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
5 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. outsider

    Truth hurt. However, we have to face truth. You are right, Sen Obama.

    December 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. ran

    Way to go Obama. The truth will set you free if you have the guts to listen and follow it; something Bush and Republicans are not willing to do or can do.

    December 20, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. John Q

    Finally we have a President who isn't talking to God over the short-wave radio hidden in the corner of the Presidential bedroom closet.
    President Obama shows Americans that academics is the path to success, and that means looking into the eyes of reality aka science, that really scares evangelical christians from witnessing the truths.

    December 20, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  4. Joe

    it is not a swipe, it is true

    December 20, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. DP

    While I am a conservative on fiscal spending and government control, I very much agree with Obama on getting government back in the lead on research and science. The goverment should be the leader in funding research and push the private sector to join up with them. We need to be the global leader in technological advances in all areas if we expect to have a viable and growing economy. The US needs a Manahattan type think tank that addresses education, climate changes, energy sources, and economics. Obama needs to make two rules. Politicians cannot have any influence over the decisions or direction of the solutions. The solutions must be self sustaining so the government does not have to cover the enormous costs to implement them.

    December 20, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. JAS

    Finally, we will have people back in the White House who understand that Science and knowledge are good. The last 8 years have constituted a return to the dark ages, when politics, religion, and false morality have preempted science and reason. Denying the facts is never a good solution to any problem.

    December 20, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. Robin Bralower

    The president elect is right George Bush doesnt like science when
    it comes to stem cell research and other innovations in science.
    The president elect will make a great president because of his
    ideas that are fresh and america is ready for it.

    December 20, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Mike in San Antonio

    WOW...real life science and facts....as seen by the far left you mean, right?

    December 20, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Bev

    So I wonder if that applies to all the lies and propaganda the "global warming" extremists are spreading...because MOST scientists do not agree with the global warming hysteria. Case in point the report the AP did this week was completely wrong and very reputable scientists came out against it. But unfortunately, we don't hear much about that. I'm betting that Obama is on the side of the hysteria and not the scientific fact. I get very disturbed when Obama starts talking about being non-partisan when the liberals themselves are the ones partisan. He is going straight down the path of liberal policies so throw bipartisan out the window. It's a sham.

    December 20, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. MikeH

    CNN is filling in the blanks again, making stuff up to stir up controversy. CNN continues to aid the Republican agenda to poison the American well and scortch the earth.

    CNN why can't you get out of the lap of the Republican elite who are destroying America, and serve your country. America needs you to be at your best. Report on how solid science was ignored, how scientists were threatened or fired for telling the truth.

    Stop wet-nursing the Republican party. They are degenerating into a cause for evil, much like Iraq's Bath party.

    December 20, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Lawrence

    So glad Bush and his morons will soon be gone.George Bush and his horrific administration is one of the greatest tragedies in American history.They are all criminals that should rot in prison for their crimes against our planet and all living creatures.Any moron who voted for Bush is a disguisting disgrace!!!!

    December 20, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. DJ

    Why call this a "fresh jab at Bush" on the CNN main page? This isn't a jab, it's a statement of Obama's view of the importance of scientific discovery in America. I must say I agree it is important, and that both private and government sectors benefit from executive branch interest. Hopefully his picks are as good as they sound.

    December 20, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Greg

    That's Great. But which scientist is Obama going to listen too? Obama's politics or ideology will not have any influence as to the facts. Really? LOL.

    December 20, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Cities around the country are experiencing never-before-seen extreme winter conditions, a result of global warming as described, explained, predicted and substantiated by some of the finest academic, scientific and meteorlogical minds.

    Yet, George Bush continues to pander to the "pulpit pilots" who seem to have a foothold in the White House, directing the way the government and the people should view things. The last time the religious right got a foothold, Reagan never was allowed to mention or recognize HIV/AIDS publicly, because if he had, we could have started the battle against it much sooner and gotten control of it. But the religious zealots, who seem to shun the academic side of anything in society, said no!

    I believe George Carlin said it best when he stated that he abides by the 11th Commandment – "Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself." And, hopefully, out of the government!!!

    December 20, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. Juan

    I'll get more excited when he has actually done something instead of just talk about it.

    Actually, I find it funny that somehow he thinks that the Presidency defines how this country defines it view of science and scientists. Where is the statistical data to support that conclusion and correlation?

    December 20, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. James Shin

    I am enormously relieved that we finally have a president who understands scientific facts. I do not want to imagine what if the other guy would have gotten elected with ideological self-proclaimed moral bigots who cannot understand the relative aspects of morality.

    James from Indianapolis

    December 20, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. Jeff From Jersey

    This must be primarably about global warming.You'd think now that he's the President-electf Mr,Obama could tone down the "political warming" a little bit.For someone that claims he wants to bring us all together,he sure is driving spikes to keep the great division that seperates us all politically apart,going strong.
    How many things can he put "at the top of the list"?So far EVERYTHING is at the top of the list.

    December 20, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. BILLY JONES

    WHY CAN'T HE SHOW JUST A LITTLE RESPECT FOR THE PRESIDENT? BUSH HAS GONE THE EXTRA MILE TO BE SURE THAT THE TRANSITION WILL GO OVER SMOOTHLY,AND ALL OBAMA CAN DO IS SHOW DISRESPECT..

    December 20, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Flash news

    You mean the Earth isnt flat, 6000yrs. old and its not ok to have slaves?

    December 20, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Michael

    Haha! Its like a reunion of your favorite rock band after a long hiatus. After 8 years of incompetent gunslinging rednecks governing the country, its about time we had facts and evidence when implementing policy and using tax payer dollars.

    December 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. John

    Maybe at one time science did seek the truth. Now they try to force secularism on people, regardless of mounds of evidence. They preach evolution as fact even though there is no evidence whatsoever for it (they have even tried to forge fossils to hopefully convince the less affluent that their postulations are true). For example, students in school are taught that dinosaurs died out 50 million years ago. They are taught this as fact, even though there is evidence of people seeing dinosaurs. Science has become a religion...teaching people that it is okay to ignore the truth...called the Bible.

    December 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. Baby Ray Ray

    I agree science should be over politics or convience but Obama really should accomplish something before taking swipes at Bush.

    December 20, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. C W

    What happened to headlines like "Obama names is Science and Technology Team"? That's the kind of headline you've been using for all of his nominations.

    Look, the Bush Administration has been such a complete and total adject failure that just about any utterance from anybody anywhere could be twisted into a "jab" against it.

    So lay off the sensationalism, CNN, and just report the news!

    December 20, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Eric in Texas

    I love how everyone wants to focus on science, and that stem-cell research will safe the world. You people are fools. Stem-cell research has never been banned, it has simply NOT BEEN FUNDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Lots of companies do great things for the world without funds from the federal government. But the Democrats just made everyone think that old Bushy wasn't going to allow it period. That he would ban it. No, embryonic research was but to a stop. But even with that, stem-cell research has been around a long time and has NOT PROVIDED ONE SINGLE SOLITARY CURE FOR ANY DISEASE THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE. SO JUST CHILL OUT.

    December 20, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. fred

    Of course science is important. However, people choose the careers they want, and people are choosing to be what they want to be nowadays. In india, standards are so much higher, and parents push their kids to get all A grades in school, etc, etc, and then those students go into math and science, because that's what everyone else is doing. Here in America, not as many people go after those jobs. More people take up education, music, and business careers here, because that is what they like to do. Obama won't be able to do anything about that.

    Now, what we do need to do is put more money back in the space program, which is something Obama wants to DELAY restarting after the shuttle program ends in 2010. Constellation, the next NASA program, is set to start in 2015. However, Obama wants it delayed 5 years. "The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years" Those are Obama's words. I really don't think Obama cares so much about our space program if that's what he's going to cut money from in order to help his education program. The space program is the key to all the other sciences and technology. We wouldn't have the internet, cell phones, PDAs, GPS, or any of these things without the space program. Obama doesn't understand this I guess.

    December 20, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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