July 23, 2008
Culberson: Let me revise and extend those remarks

Last week, when Rep. John Culberson criticized NASA by saying it had "failed us miserably" and "wastes a vast amount of money", I wrote that I expected Culberson would wind up walking back his remarks. Looks like I was right.

"Every agency wastes money but NASA itself is not a waste," the Republican lawmaker said during a video conference with constituents. "These fine people, the scientists and engineers there at NASA, I certainly owe these folks an apology because that is not what I meant to say."

Culberson, whose statements last week were met with criticism from NASA supporters and political opponents, blamed his temper for his statements but also said his remarks had been taken out of context by people trying to embarass him as he seeks re-election.

In last week's electronic town hall meeting, Culberson explained Tuesday night, "somebody was asking me about waste in government and a guy was aggravating me and I let my temper get a little bit away with me and I said something I shouldn't have, which was ... that NASA is a waste of money."

But the congressman, who is seeking re-election against Democrat Michael Skelly and Libertarian Drew Parks in the 7th Congressional District, also said his statements from last week were "taken out of context by somebody out there looking to try to embarrass me in a political campaign, which is unfortunate in this business."

When a Chronicle reporter contacted Culberson last week about his initial statements, however, the congressman affirmed them and went further, saying he was considering introducing legislation to overhaul the space agency as well as expose it to more competition from the private sector.

He made no remarks Tuesday night about the fate of any such legislation.

Color me unsurprised about any of this. Culberson has never been into subtlety, and that sort of thing always gets you into trouble sooner or later. He can claim he was taken out of context, but this is completely consistent with his style. And please spare me the whining about people trying to "embarrass" him in a political campaign. If you can't stand having a light shine on what you're saying, you don't belong on the campaign trail. Culberson isn't used to this kind of scrutiny, being a longtime denizen of uncompetitive districts. Welcome to 2008, John. Things are a little different this year. Houston Politics has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 23, 2008 to National news

Can you say flip flop boys and girls?

Posted by: Ron in Houston on July 23, 2008 7:52 PM
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