Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Rubio's Cash for Clunkers claim runs on fumes

The statement

The Obama administration "spent more money on the Cash for Clunkers program than the space program."

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, Feb. 8, in Florida Today

The ruling

The Obama administration recently announced plans to kill the NASA Constellation program, which sought to put astronauts back on the moon.

Rubio spoke against President Barack Obama's plan at a meeting of the Brevard County Republican Club. The article said Rubio "criticized the Obama administration for discontinuing manned spaceflight in favor of more innovative technological advances, ignoring that Obama also proposed an increase in NASA's budget over the next several years."

Rubio was quoted saying, "They spent more money on the Cash for Clunkers program than the space program."

Rubio campaign spokesman Alberto Martinez said Rubio was referring to the Constellation program, not NASA's overall budget. Here's how the numbers compare:

• Cash for Clunkers was a $3 billion program, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

• NASA's overall budget this year is $18.7 billion, proposed to rise to $19 billion next year.

• NASA's exploration program, which includes the Constellation initiative, was about $3.8 billion this year. The cost would be $2.5 billion to phase out the Constellation program over two years and then it would drop to zero.

So Rubio would be right if the comparison is Constellation ($3 billion for Cash for Clunkers vs. $2.5 billion to phase out the Constellation effort), but he'd be wrong if it's the NASA space program overall (the $3 billion for Clunkers vs. roughly $19 billion for NASA).

By referring to the "space program," his comment was so vague that it sounds more like he's referring to the entire NASA budget. The Florida Today article helps to back that up, noting that he ignored Obama's plan to increase NASA's overall spending.

So we find the claim Barely True.

Amy Sherman, Times staff writer. This ruling has been edited for print. For the full ruling — and others — go to

PolitiFact: Rubio's Cash for Clunkers claim runs on fumes 03/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 15, 2010 10:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings