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Bolden Ducks Media Questions Again at Stealth News Conference

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
October 12, 2010
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“WASHINGTON — Media representatives are invited to participate in a teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT, Oct. 11, for reaction to Monday’s anticipated signing of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 by President Barack Obama. The President is expected to sign the bill later this afternoon after it was passed overwhelmingly by Congress last week. It provides bipartisan support for NASA’s new direction in space exploration. Participants in the media teleconference include:
* NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
* NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver
* U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida
* U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, Florida’s 24th District
* Former Augustine Committee member, physicist, and former astronaut Sally Ride
Media representatives who want to participate in the teleconference should contact Katherine Trinidad either by telephone at 202-281-8171 or email at [email protected] The teleconference also will be made available on the Internet at: For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

Keith’s note: Some news media only got a 90 minute advance warning about this. Some only got a 4 minute heads up. Today is a Federal holiday. Why not wait until tomorrow when everyone is around – and so that people can actually participate?
Keith’s update: I was unable to participate in this telecon due to its last minute scheduling. However I have spoken/exchanged email with multiple media participants who did. Mr. Bolden made a brief statement and then left. He was therefore not available to answer questions from the media. How anyone can characterize this as “participation” in a media teleconference baffles me.
Mr. Bolden seems to be uninterested in playing a personal role in the agency’s engagement with the media, the public, or his workforce. First he schedules foreign travel of dubious value to the agency at a time when thousands of his employees are being laid off and critical congressional battles are being fought. Then he goes out of his way not to make himself available to the media after the President signs this critical legislation into law. How much longer is this going to continue? Phoning in and doing flyby appearances is not what the agency needs right now.
Oh yes, this bill passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support – often times with Republicans being more supportive of the legislation than members of the President’s own party. Yet were there any Republicans participating in this media telecon? No.
Obama signing NASA law today, but funding still isn’t assured, Huntsville Times
“Bolden read a statement praising the legislation as an “exciting new course of exploration and discovery,” but left the teleconference without taking questions. A photo released by the White House shows the president signing the legislation at his desk in the Oval Office with no NASA supporters around him.”
President Obama Signs NASA Authorization Bill, Space News
“Later, during a question-and-answer session for which Bolden was not present, Nelson said he would seek bipartisan support for funding the authorization bill, which he said anticipates $11.5 billion over six years to fund a new heavy-lift launch vehicle and authorizes an additional space shuttle mission next year.”
President Obama signs NASA budget authorization, CBS
“Nelson made the comments during a NASA teleconference with reporters before the president signed the legislation. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made an opening statement but as has become standard practice, he took no questions and left the briefing in the hands of his deputy, Lori Garver.”
NASA has the plan, but can it get the money from lameduck Congress?, Huntsville Times
“Reporters were given only 90 minutes notice of the teleconference, and embattled NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. left immediately after reading an opening statement and without taking questions.”
Obama Signs NASA Reauthorization Bill, Aviation Week
“Garver took over at a hastily assembled press teleconference Oct. 11 after Administrator Charles Bolden read a prepared statement on the bill and dropped off the call for what a spokesman said was another engagement.”

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