Lyndon Johnson, Not JFK, Was the Real Space Advocate

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Friday, July 24, 2009

In his July 17 op-ed lamenting the fickle public's loss of ardor for the moon it once adored, Charles Krauthammer recalled fondly the enthusiasm for manned space exploration voiced so eloquently by John F. Kennedy in his pledge to put men on the moon ["The Moon We Left Behind"].

In truth, Mr. Kennedy's lunar zeal was pressed upon him by his vice president, Lyndon Johnson, who explained the political and public relations importance of a dramatic move that would raise Americans' morale in the wake of the surprise orbiting of the Earth by Russia's unmanned Sputnik. Earlier, as House speaker, Johnson had been the foremost advocate of funding for NASA.

WES PEDERSEN

Chevy Chase


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