It’s the truth, so why do they have their panties in a wad? (See links below)
Politifact During an epic rant about liberal laziness and the events in Ukraine, conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh made a striking claim about NASA’s new role under President Barack Obama.
How liberal laziness, Ukraine and NASA are related is a bit convoluted, so we’ll keep this recap short and sweet. Limbaugh was going off on a Huffington Post blog written by Carolyn Gregoire. In her post, Gregoire criticized a Cadillac commercial as over-materialistic.
Here’s what Limbaugh said on his March 6 show: “Hey, Ms. Gregoire, never mind that Barack Obama made NASA into a Muslim outreach department and it’s Barack Obama, your idol and hero, that makes it necessary to pay the Russians $70 million for every astronaut to the space station,” Limbaugh said.
“By the way, with this thing in the Ukraine, with the KGB vs. Obama, i.e., ACORN, what happens if Putin says, ‘You know what, you really ticked me off and I’m not taking you back to your space station.’ How we gonna get there, Ms. Gregoire? ‘Cause Obama’s shut it down. NASA’s a museum for Muslim outreach now.”
There’s obviously some hyperbole in Limbaugh’s comments here. But we did think it worthy to attempt to answer two questions:
What is Limbaugh talking about when he says Obama turned NASA “into a Muslim outreach department?”
Did Obama shut down NASA space flights?
Limbaugh did not return a request for comment. But we’re fairly certain the origin of his “Muslim outreach” claim stems from the summer 2010 news cycle. New NASA chief Charles Bolden made a curious remark about Obama’s three-pronged vision for Bolden’s job description in an interview with Middle Eastern news channel Al Jazeera.
Bolden’s comment about reaching out to Muslim nations struck conservative talking heads and politicians as bizarre. Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer said Bolden’s remarks signaled “a new height of fatuousness.” Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who served during the George W. Bush administration, called it a “perversion” of NASA’s purpose.
In the years since, Bolden has traveled around the world promoting NASA but has not made many public statements.
The White House clarified Bolden’s remarks as outrage swelled, with spokesman Robert Gibbs saying, “That was not his task, and that’s not the task of NASA.” Obama did not want Bolden to extend NASA’s cooperation to solely Muslim countries (even though Muslims were the only ones featured in early videos), Logsdon said, but also to non-traditional countries in South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
We reached out to NASA for examples of collaboration with Middle Eastern countries since Bolden took over, and about Limbaugh’s characterization of Bolden’s remarks in general, but a spokesman did not answer those questions.
Limbaugh reached into the early flare-ups of the Obama presidency for his quip about NASA’s conversion into a “Muslim outreach department.” The notion stems from remarks by Bolden in an interview with an Arabic TV channel in 2010. Bolden identified three priorities from Obama, including finding “a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.”
Limbaugh also accused Obama of shutting down NASA space flights. Obama certainly played a role (the shuttle flights stopped while he was in office), but the plan to scuttle the space shuttle program started before Obama took office, and Congress has not fully funded budget requests to speed along the creation of a private American space fleet.
Those omissions go beyond the realm of hyperbole. We rate Limbaugh’s claim False.