Washington – President Bush asked the top NASA administrator if his team of engineers could “get me back to 2002, like maybe January.” Mr. Bush is apparently longing for the days earlier in his presidency, specifically the months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when his approval rating hovered around 80%. He is currently wildly unpopular. In a June Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll, only 23% of Americans said they approved of the job he was doing.
“I would say the early part of 2002 would work best,” Mr. Bush is reported to have said during the conversation with Administrator of NASA Michael D. Griffin. “It’s not 2001, when it was so crazy, and it’s before Iraq and everything. So that would work great. January, 2002. I was so popular then. It was so nice.”
At the White House today, Mr. Bush was asked about his conversation with Mr. Griffin. “I asked whether the guys–Mike and his guys–if they could see about doing something as far as getting me back there,” Mr. Bush said. “I said, ‘I don’t see how it would be that big a deal. We can rewind tapes and things like that all the time. Why not the presidency?’ I mean, a lot of it’s on video anyway, so… Seems kind of close to me. Just…maybe build a giant rewind button. Out of…something. I don’t know. Something big. And then you can just hit the button. I’m not an engineer, but it seems like it should work.”
For his part, Mr. Griffin, who is a physicist and an aerospace engineer, was politely skeptical of the likelihood of transporting Mr. Bush to a different period in history. “I would never say it’s not theoretically possible to travel back in time, or forward in time for that matter,” Mr. Griffin said when reached by telephone. “I would never say that it won’t ever happen. But the fact is, we aren’t there yet. I mean, I understand the president’s wishes, and I admire him very much, but some things are just… They occur in science fiction books and the like because that’s basically what they are, is fiction.”
Mr. Bush acknowledged what he called “the perceived difficulty” of time travel. “Well, yeah, I’ve heard how hard it is, just like everybody else,” he said. “And, you know, I just don’t see it. Just hook some wires up to the thingee or whatever. I mean, are you telling me these guys can get a little car with a camera on it all the way to Mars and they can’t get me six years back in time? It doesn’t make any sense. I’m not asking to go to 1512 or something. 2002. It’s in the two-thousands. It’s recent.”