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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Obama Dismisses Claim That Politics Denied Houston a Space Shuttle


President Barack Obama said the White House played no part in choosing the museums where NASA's retired space shuttles will be displayed, and that the city of Houston was not overlooked for political reasons, according to news reports.

In an interview with a local Texas TV reporter, Obama maintained that the retirement of NASA's three space shuttles and a test orbiter to museums around the country was not politically charged.

"The White House has nothing to do with it," Obama told Brad Watson, a reporter with Belo TV, which is part of a conglomerate that owns several TV stations in Texas. The video was posted online on the Yahoo news blog, The Ticket.

Obama further emphasized that politics did not influence the decision-making process after Watson implied that the orbiters had been awarded to states that are critical for his re-election.

"I just said that was wrong," Obama insisted. "I just said that wasn't true."

Four museums, out of a competitive field that started with 29 hopeful sites across the country, were chosen to exhibit NASA's three working orbiters and the prototype shuttle Enterprise, which is currently on display at the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. [NASA's Space Shuttle Program in Pictures: A Tribute]

Following their retirement, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour will be moved to their future homes at, respectively, the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

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