"Asked by FOX News' Brit Hume if a dirty trick was being played, [Mary Beth Cahill, campaign manager for John Kerry] didn't answer the question directly but said: "What do you think?" "This was a legitimate tour of a NASA facility and this photograph came out of absolutely nowhere. We were surprised then. We aren't surprised now."
Editor's note: This is just silly. Kerry's handlers goofed - not NASA. According to NASA sources Sen. Bill Nelson suggested on the spur of the moment that Kerry and his entourage ought go and look at the inside of space shuttle orbiter. NASA tends to take a Senator's requests seriously and did their best to oblige. Originally Kerry's visit was to be confined to the KSC visitor's center. This new request was not part of the original planned visit. In order to visit the inside of a shuttle orbiter in the Orbiter Processing Facility, you need to wear a bunny suit. Everyone does. Kerry's staff asked NASA for photos - and NASA provided them. Since the photos were made with government resources, they were posted on the KSC website. Also, given that they were produced by the government they can be obtained via FOIA request.
Former NASA PAO chief Peggy Wilhide (Al Gore's former press secretary) is currently the spokesperson for the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Kerry's campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill (who is accusing NASA of 'leaking' these photos) would do well to have Peggy explain how these things work - and stop making these goofy charges against NASA. Oh yes, NASA's current PAO Chief, Glen Mahone, went to high school with Bill Clinton and was appointed to his current job while Clinton was still president. Anyone looking for political anti-Kerry bias in releasing these photos is wasting their time.
This really is silly. I cannot fathom why the Kerry folks think this is a bad image. John Kerry climbs inside the same space shuttle that carried John Glenn back into space - with Glenn at his side. Although Kerry's record on space is mediocre at best, such a photo op with an American icon inside an icon of America's space prowess ought to be something that the Kerry campaign proudly promotes. Or does the Kerry campaign have a problem with images of John Kerry inside a space shuttle being circulated i.e. are they afraid that he will be forced to take a stronger position on space than they would like him to adopt?
Update: NASA sources inform me that NASA KSC gave the Kerry campaign people about 30 CDs, which were to be distributed to local media by the Kerry people. The photos in question were on these CDs. Local reporters were seen with with these CDs later in the afternoon. As such, assuming that the reporters got the CDs from the Kerry campaign, the Kerry people distributed the photographs themselves! There was no "leak". Read the story: Kerry Camp Peeved at 'Leaked Photo', Fox News
27 July 2004: Republicans Try to Ridicule Kerry with NASA Photo, Reuters
"My hunch is that the brilliant Republicans who put George Bush in a flight suit to strut around an aircraft carrier won't get very far giving advice to NASA and John Glenn about the kinds of coveralls to wear on the Discovery," Kerry spokesman David Wade said of the first American to orbit earth."