Our real "Sputnik moment" will be when China puts a man on the moon, which might happen on Obama's watch, if he's a two-termer. He's just "softening us up," by using that phrase now, in another context.
Nothing says "rising world power" better than doing something neither of the "old "world powers can do, today. Meanwhile, President Obama has expanded NASA's mission to "acknowledging Muslim contributions to science," as he cuts their funding. This time, the "Sputnik moment" is quite forseeable, even from as distant a planet as LEAVWORLD.