He said their mission is, "a wonderful example of the kind of dedication and commitment to exploration that represents America and the space program generally."
Shuttle commander Scott Altman asked the president if one of them would be the new NASA administrator:
"Just so we're sure, the new administrator's not any of us on the flight deck, is it?"
Obama laughed, and said, "I'm not going to give you any hints..."
The White House distributed an audio recording of the conversation. .