Science and Technology in the 2012 Presidential Election:
Barack Obama (Democrat)
- http://www.barackobama.com/ - campaign site
- https://twitter.com/BarackObama (@BarackObama) - Twitter
- http://www.facebook.com/barackobama - Facebook
- http://www.youtube.com/BarackObama - YouTube
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. He was elected President in 2008, and is currently seeking re-election for a second term. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, and subsequently practiced and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. In 1996 he was elected to the Illinois State Senate, and in 2004 he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Competitiveness and Innovation
President Obama wants to increase U.S. manufacturing capacity for new technologies and invest in clean energy projects that use American-made equipment in order to create jobs and ensure America’s role as a global leader in innovation. Obama also supported increases in the FY2013 R&D budgets for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy. He developed an innovation plan, A Strategy for American Innovation, to spur investments in broadband, health information technology, smart grids, and open data networks.
STEM Education and Workforce
Currently, Obama’s education site focuses on raising K-12 standards, increasing investment in student financial aid, and protecting teachers’ jobs. In 2009, he launched the “Educate to Innovate” program, which formed partnerships between the government, private corporations, foundations, and scientific societies that are working to help America’s youth excel at math and science. Obama also supports the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which would set common goals for student education and preparation for college and/or careers.
In an effort to expand the STEM workforce, the Obama Administration expanded the list of STEM degrees in May 2011. This allows graduates holding foreign student visas to remain in the U.S. for an additional 17 months through the Optional Training Program, if they want to gain professional experience in the States.
Health and Medical Research
In March 2010, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Among other things, this bill created the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to guide reviews and research on comparative effectiveness of medical interventions.
Obama also increased federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells that met certain ethical guidelines. (See the AAAS Stem Cell Policy Brief for more information on stem cell research funding.)
Advisers: Nancy-Ann DeParle, Ezekiel Emanuel
Energy and Environment
Obama focuses primarily on creating new jobs and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil by investing in new clean energy technologies. He pledged to pursue an “all of the above” energy strategy, which entails development and production of all fuel sources including oil, natural gas, clean coal, biofuels, wind energy, solar energy, and nuclear power.
Advisers: Steven Chu, Lisa Jackson, Ken Salazar, Heather Zichal
National and Homeland Security
Much of Obama’s attention is on the Middle East; he wants to continue to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and he is also trying to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons by imposing heavy sanctions. Furthermore, he pledged to maintain the special relationship that exists between the U.S. and Israel.
Obama plans to cut the Department of Defense budget by $487 billion over the next two years; he hopes to invest more money in cybertechnology and drone development, while decreasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps.
Advisers: Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, Adm. William McRaven
Joe Biden is the current Vice President of the United States, and plans to remain in office should the President be re-elected. Biden focuses primarily on issues that are important to America's middle-class. In a speech on tax fairness in New Hampshire, he emphasized that investments in education, research and development, new technologies, and clean energy are necessary for economic growth and job creation. In particular, he highlighted the importance of making college more affordable and providing tax credits for innovative manufacturers. He also discussed the importance of partnerships between businesses and community colleges for the development of a skilled workforce, and he supports a reduced tax rate for high-tech manufacturers.
Biden applauds the Obama Administration’s 30 percent tax credit for renewable energy producers and the new fuel economy standards. He believes that the Medicare program and the Affordable Care Act are necessary to ensure access to quality health care for senior citizens.