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Political SCIENCE: Where do the presidential candidates stand on sci-tech Issues?

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By Roger Snodgrass

In the only side-by-side comparison on a range of science issues, the two candidates for president sound roughly similar on many issues, but a closer examination finds differences in tone and substance.

In ScienceDebate2008.com, a comprehensive website and public forum that began as a grassroots call by six citizens for a presidential debate on science, both John McCain and Barack Obama come down solidly in favor of innovation, the basis of the program’s first question.

Obama’s answer to the question about policies that will support American leadership in innovation begins,  “Ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology will be a central priority for my administration.”

McCain’s statement opens, “I have a broad and cohesive vision for the future of American innovation.”

Both speak of the competitive importance of American innovation, but a closer look reveals potential differences, for example, in whether innovation will be centered in the public or private domain.

Obama vows to increase funding for basic research and to back the competitiveness initiative that has won broad support in Congress in recent years, but failed to gain funding.

McCain has also supported that package , but has been reluctant to say how fully.


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