July 8th, 2011
09:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Kennedy, Obama and the moon

(CNN) - The moon isn't what it used to be.

When President John Kennedy promised the country a lunar landing within eight years, his famous declaration became a symbol of the American can-do ideal, stating that we do such endeavors, "Not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

In February 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama used that sentiment as a defense from his Democratic primary rival, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, who attacked his campaign for being too idealistic.

An indignant Obama channeled the Kennedy sentiment when he declared at the Wisconsin Jefferson Jackson dinner, "That’s what hope is. Imagining and then fighting for and then working for what did not seem possible before. That's leadership. John F. Kennedy didn't look up at the moon and say, 'That's too far. We can't go.'"

In April 2010, an election, a financial crisis, and an Inauguration later, Obama voiced a different sentiment, however, seemingly tempering his aspirations for the moon as a human destination.

"I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the moon first, as previously planned," he said at Cape Canaveral, Florida. "But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We've been there before. Buzz (Aldrin) has been there."

But minutes after the final shuttle launch Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted that the president's space policy is not restrained, but rather expansive.

"The fact is, the president has laid out an ambitious agenda, an ambitious vision for human space life that will take American astronauts beyond where we’ve been ever before, with the ultimate goal being a human mission to Mars,” Carney said.

Filed under: John F. Kennedy • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. w l jones

    We need to find out what on the other side of the sun. Two planets travel at same speed around a body one never know there could be another Earth not as advance as we are just waiting to be discover. Bless.

    July 8, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. Patrick

    Where is the inconsistency on the part of the president? You guys sure go out of your way to streeeetch things to fit a bias.

    July 8, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  3. Sgt Schultz

    The Space Shuttle program was too dangerous and cost too many lives. It is the right decision to move forward to something more ambitious and build new generation of safer transport vehicles.

    July 9, 2011 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  4. Diogenes3p0

    Ambitious agenda. Gut space science, cancel the rockets, lay off the space port launch force, threaten to kill the Hubble replacement, etc
    This is like Sadam's PR guy saying they are winning when you could hear gunfire in the background

    July 9, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  5. Beefburger

    Sorry Grandma, you can't get your heart and diabetes medications this month, but we put a piece of the downpayment on this nifty new rocket.

    July 9, 2011 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  6. No Hope; Just Fighting

    We don't work together for the common good anymore. It's all republican vs. democrat, conservative vs. liberal, etc. Our politicians then had the crazies but realized that at the end of the day they worked for all of the american people. Now they just work for the fringe element. What the heck happened? This jobs thing could be solved if republicans and democrats just worked together. The deficit could be solved if they just worked together. And both parties stopped listening to the idiots on the fringe.

    July 9, 2011 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  7. The Elephant in The Room

    The problem with space is that their is no mission that serves the national interest. I worked in the "space" business – made a nice living – but the truth is it a work-fare, instead of welfare. I wonder how many space workers call themselves conservative Republicans? Well, true conservatives don`t defend spending money without a clear cost benefit outcome and Face it, space no longer provides that. That`s why the GOP can`t and won`t fight for it. Now where do "republican" space workers turn? Do they admit the hipocracy of having criticized others on taxpayer support?

    We went to the moon to protect ourselves from the Soviets militarizing space. Screw all that man`s need to explore crap. That`s not why we went. That game is over and no one cares to hear John Glenn pine for his romantic vision of his youth.

    We throw money up in the air with no compelling goal and some of it flutters back to earth in the form of lucky "Eurica" discoveries like velcro that find some application outside of NASA.

    We need some honesty in government. We need some accountability.

    July 9, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    The fact that this country now has no active space vehicle to get people to and from the space stattion which we built, is a national disgrace. The fact that we have to rely on RUSSIA to carry our people there and back is a national disgrace. This is all complements of Obama, our biggest national disgrace.

    July 9, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. WiredwierdinSF

    Funny to see the name of the man who started me voting for democrats and the one who made me end my affilation with them mentioned in the same headline. What a corruption of the party this current inept, incompetent, corrupt, union toady president is.

    July 9, 2011 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. Patrick from Minnesota

    This is perhaps one of the only things I disagree with the President on. The Apollo program was likely one of the most famous endeavors this country has partaken in. We owe it to ourselves to return to the place that America knows more than any other nation.

    July 9, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. rob

    I know the thought of JFK sends tingles up the legs of the liberal media but this fluff piece is ridicules. 1. These two men have very little in common in terms of their vision of America and our role in the world. 2. The US is now dependant the Russians for our trips into orbit !!!!! The irony of this could not be more stark. Kennedy held the US up as defender of freedom in the world, the space race was a huge symbol of our strength and power in response to the Soviet Unions designs of world dominance. Now it seems President Obama and the left in the US is content to allow the us to be diminished as a world leader, we should be rsigned to the fact that we in decline.

    We need new leadership of the kind President Regan brought, love him or hate him, he brought a confidence in the US as the a leader in the world that we are sorely lacking now.

    Nov. 2012 can't come fast enough

    July 9, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The space program should be privatized and not supported on the backs of taxpayers who will never travel in space.

    July 9, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |