Press Release

McCain, Obama Weigh in on Science

By SpaceRef Editor
September 15, 2008
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McCain, Obama Weigh in on Science

Candidates differ on approaches to some of the toughest challenges facing America

Washington (September 15, 2008) – Entering the debate on several contentious science issues, John McCain today answered the “14 top science questions facing America,” according to, the group leading an effort to make science issues a larger part of the election. His answers join those of Barack Obama, who answered the same questions two weeks ago.

“Most of America’s major unsolved challenges revolve around these 14 questions. To move America forward, the next president needs a substantive plan for tackling them going in, and voters deserve to know what that plan is,” said Shawn Otto, CEO of the initiative. “We’re pleased that Senator McCain has provided voters with that plan.”

The two candidates’ full responses can be found here.

The top 14 questions address energy policy, national security, economics in a science-driven global economy, climate change, education, health care, ocean health, biosecurity, clean water, space, stem cells, scientific integrity, genetics, and research.

The 14 questions were developed from over 3,400 questions submitted by more than 38,500 signers of the ScienceDebate2008 initiative. The questionnaire is a joint effort led by ScienceDebate2008, with Scientists and Engineers for America, AAAS, the National Academies, the Council on Competitiveness, and several other organizations, together representing over 125 million Americans.

“I have a broad and cohesive vision for the future of American innovation,” said Senator McCain. “My policies will provide broad pools of capital, low taxes and incentives for research in America, a commitment to a skilled and educated workforce, and a dedication to opening markets around the globe.”

“Ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology will be a central priority for my administration,” said Senator Obama. “Our talent for innovation is still the envy of the world, but we face unprecedented challenges that demand new approaches.”

Recent national polls have shown that 85% of voters would like the see the candidates debate these challenges, and the majority of voters are much more likely to vote for a candidate that has a plan for tackling these issues.

“We are grateful for both Senators’ detailed responses,” said Matthew Chapman, president of the initiative. “Now we hope the candidates will want to discuss their differences. Science Debate 2008 and its partners once again extend an invitation to both candidates to attend a televised forum where these vital issues can be discussed in front of a broader audience.” is a citizens initiative started by six individuals whose signers now include nearly every major American science organization, the presidents of nearly every major American university, and dozens of Nobel laureates and top American CEOs. For more information, to see a list of the signers, or to see detailed results of the national polls, please visit

SpaceRef staff editor.