Contrary to NASA Administrator’s Claim, White House Says Muslim Outreach ‘Not the Task of NASA’

July 12, 2010 - 3:20 PM
Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs briefs reporters at the White House on Monday, Dec. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Washington (CNSNews.com) – Although NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that President Barack Obama charged him as a NASA official “to reach out to the Muslim world” to help Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution to science,” the White House said today that outreach to Muslims is not the task of NASA.
 
When asked about Bolden’s comments, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “That’s not his task and that’s not the task of NASA.”
 
Gibbs also said he did not know whether Obama had spoken with Bolden about the issue. When also asked if someone from the White House had talked to Bolden about the topic, Gibbs said, “People at the White House talk to NASA all the time.”
 
In an interview with Al Jazeera on June 17 in Doha, Qatar, Bolden said the following:
 
“I am here in the region -- its sort of the first anniversary of President Barack Obama's visit to Cairo -- and his speech there when he gave what has now become known as Obama's ‘Cairo Initiative’ where he announced that he wanted this to become a new beginning of the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world.
 
“When I became the NASA administrator -- before I became the NASA administrator -- he charged me with three things: One was that he wanted me to re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; that he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and, third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”