A visibly perturbed Jay Barbree, during MSNBC live coverage on Thursday, called out Barack Obama for making cuts in NASA that could result, as he claimed, in 9,000 employees losing their jobs even though during the campaign, as the long time NBC correspondent reported, the President "told 15,000 workers here at the Space Center that if they would vote for him, that he would protect their jobs." This sent MSNBC live anchor Alex Witt immediately into administration defense mode as she asserted: "I will say on behalf of the Obama administration, they contend that 2500 new jobs will be created."
The following exchange was aired during MSNBC's live April 15 coverage at around 12pm Eastern:
ALEX WITT: Right now on MSNBC, President Obama gets ready to head to NASA to try to build support for his efforts to revamp the nation's space program. Although the international space station will remain active, plans to send astronauts back to the moon are being scrubbed for now and that is dividing, not only Congress, but also some of the few people who have actually stepped foot on the lunar surface. Let's bring in NBC's Jay Barbree who's live for us at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Jay, good day to you.
JAY BARBREE: Good day to you Alex.
WITT: Okay so this is really, there's a dividing line here between these very few elite men.
BARBREE: It sure is. Well I'll tell you it's really not. You have, you have Buzz Aldrin, who is - has his oldest son Andrew Aldrin is a, is the chief planner of the Launch Alliance Group, the Delta 4 rocket and the Atlas 5 rocket and they are the people who are trying to get the job of hauling the Orion spacecraft into space and they're going to downsize it so they can put them on these rockets. So what - they're trying to do that. Neil Armstrong and all the rest of the guys, they see what's happening here. We do not have a conceivable...I can't get the word out. They do not have continuation of the space program.
BARBREE: But I'm a little disturbed right now, Alex. I just found out some very disturbing news. The President came down here in his campaign and told these 15,000 workers here at the Space Center that if they would vote for him, that he would protect their jobs. 9,000 of them are about to lose their job. He is speaking before 200, extra hundred people here today only. It's invitation only. He has not invited a single space worker from this space port to attend. It's only academics and other high officials from outside of the country. Not one of them is invited to hear the President of the United States, on their own space port, speak today. Back to you Alex.
WITT: Alright Jay I can understand why that would certainly get you a bit upset. I will say, on behalf of the Obama administration, they contend that 2500 new jobs will be created, even more, they say, than the 2012 Constellation would have created, that program. So I know all this remains to be seen, but understandably we get why you're upset, right now. Along with many others down there. Let's see if the President clears that up later today. Jay thanks so much.