Presidential Candidates Position on Science

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R Bishop
R Bishop's picture
Presidential Candidates Position on Science

There are two great articles in Science this week about the potential new Presidents of the USA and their position on science issues.

This page has a bar on the side that has all the major candidates stated opinions. Looks like Hillary seems to be the one with the best advisor team set up. She is also reccommending a doubling of the NIH budget in 10 years.

Give it a a read it will directly affect you


Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
Here is a blog post from

Here is a blog post from Steven Salzberg's "Genomics, Evolution, and Pseudoscience" where he summarizes the answer to the question of Where do the presidential candidates stand on science and research?

He also draws attention to the ScienceDebate2008 where they are calling for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.

I have also posted on this issue previously within Scientist Solutions. See
Should the Next US President be Scientifically Literate?

Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
Here are the links to the Jan

Here are the links to the Jan 4 Issue of Science concerning this year's US Presidential election...

Science and the Next U.S. President
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 22
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.22

How do the candidates view science? Sometimes it's hard to tell from the campaign trail, but they have offered opinions on topics from evolution to global warming

Many factors can make or break a U.S. presidential candidate in the 2008 race for his or her party's nomination. The ability to raise millions of dollars is key, as are positions on megaissues such as the Iraq war, immigration, and taxes. Voters also want to know if a candidate can be trusted to do the right thing in a crunch. Science and scientific issues? So far, with the exception of global warming, they are not getting much play....

DEMOCRAT: Hillary Clinton
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 23
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.23

Hillary Clinton's Speech at the Carnegie Institution of Washington on 4 October, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, was the most detailed examination of science policy that any presidential candidate has offered to date. That's not surprising, however, given the extensive network of former advisers to her husband that the Democratic front-runner has tapped....

DEMOCRAT: Barack Obama
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 28 - 29
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.28a

Speaking last summer to a convention of bloggers in Chicago, Barack Obama accused the Bush Administration of ignoring or distorting data to shape its decisions on sciencerelated issues. He promised the audience that his policies would be based on "evidence and facts." Political rhetoric? Perhaps. But some scientists who have seen the first-term U.S. Democratic senator in action say that's how he operated as a community activist in Chicago and as an Illinois state legislator...

DEMOCRAT: John Edwards
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 24 - 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.24a

John Edwards made a fortune as a personal-injury lawyer in the 1980s and was John Kerry's vice president on the unsuccessful Democratic presidential ticket in 2004. But this year, he is campaigning as a populist and a Washington outsider...

DEMOCRAT: Bill Richardson
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 28 - 29
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.28b

As New Mexico's New Governor, Bill Richardson enlisted experts from in-state Los Alamos National Laboratory to help him with technical issues. Barely a year later, however, they had been fired, Donald Trump-style. Richardson felt that the Department of Energy's (DOE's) weapons lab was dragging its feet on cleaning up long-standing environmental problems, and when a top lab official suggested one day that budget cuts might force the lab to recall its environmental adviser, it was the last straw. "We weren't going to be blackmailed," recalls Ned Farquhar, a former staffer now serving as senior adviser to the campaign on energy and climate...

REPUBLICAN: Rudolph Giuliani
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 24 - 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.24b

Speaking "In the most humble way possible," Rudy Giuliani disclosed on the campaign stump in Iowa last summer that "I'm very good at doing the impossible. I am." Indeed, he's made a career of slaying dragons, including winning the convictions of prominent Wall Street and organized crime figures as a federal prosecutor in the 1980s and overseeing a huge drop in New York City's crime rate as its mayor from 1993 to 2001...

REPUBLICAN: Mike Huckabee
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 26 - 27
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.26a

The first time Mike Huckabee was asked in a national candidates' debate if he believed in evolution, he raised his hand to say that he didn't accept the theory. The second time, Huckabee initially ducked the question and instead replied, "I'm not planning on writing the curriculum for an 8th grade science book."...

Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 26 - 27
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.26b

John McCain doesn't have any scientific training or expertise. But he trusts the experts. They've told him that global warming is the most urgent issue facing the world, and that makes climate change one of the three issues--along with immigration and the Iraq war--that he's emphasizing in his presidential campaign...

Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 30 - 31
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.30a

Last month, as Mitt Romney campaigned in Iowa, he laced his stump speeches with references to his opposition to embryonic stem (ES) cell research and abortion and his doubts about the role of humans in global warming. All those positions, plus a declaration that his Mormon faith would not dictate any decisions he might make as president, were aimed at wooing conservative Christian voters in the state...

REPUBLICAN: Fred Thompson
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 30 - 31
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.30b

In 2000, when House Republicans wanted to pull the plug on the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) being built at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the state's congressional delegation went to bat for the project. Fred Thompson, then one of the two Republican senators from Tennessee, was "extremely helpful" in assigning staff to work the issue, recalls physicist David Moncton, then head of the SNS project...

Other Democrats in the Race
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 27
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.27

Other Republicans in the Race
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 29
DOI: 10.1126/science.319.5859.29

All image and content credits -

Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
... and here is the link to

... and here is the link to an editorial by Science Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Donald Kennedy

Science and God in the Election
Science 4 January 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 12
DOI: 10.1126/science.1154211

This is the first issue of the New Year, and guess what? It's an election year in the United States, and other nations are watching the developments with interest. So Science's News Focus section, beginning on p. 22, presents some of the major presidential candidates' views about science and science policy. We hope that these will give citizens of all countries a sense of how these aspirants would meet the essentially global challenges that rest on science and technology, including climate change, health policy, resource management, and energy conservation...

Sueli's picture
Obama's support of Research

Obama's support of Research and Development: From his Book "The Audacity of Hope:"

In a 2006 conversation with Dr. Robert Langer, a Professor at MIT he says "If we want an innovation economy, one that generates more Googles each year, then we have to invest in our future innovators - by doubling federal funding of basic research over the next five years, training 100,000 more engineeres and scientists over the next four years and providing new research grants to the most outstanding early-career researchers in the country. The total price tag for maintaining our scientific and technological edge comes out to approximately $42 billion over 5 years - real money, to be sure, but just 15 percent of the most recent federal highway bill. In other words, we can afford to do what needs to be done. What's missing is not money, but a national sense of urgency."

From Barack Obama's website:

Invest in the Sciences: Barack Obama supports doubling federal funding for basic research, changing the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology. This will foster home-grown innovation, help ensure the competitiveness of US technology-based businesses, and ensure that 21st century jobs can and will grow in America. As a share of the Gross Domestic Product, American federal investment in the physical sciences and engineering research has dropped by half since 1970. Yet, it often has been federally-supported basic research that has generated the innovation to create markets and drive economic growth. For example, one recent report demonstrated how federally supported research in fiber optics and lasers helped spur the telecommunications revolution.

Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama wants investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama wants to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes.