WASHINGTON — Late on Christmas Eve, one last wish was sent, by e-mail: Please let NASA Administrator Michael Griffin keep his job. It was from his wife.
Rebecca Griffin, who works in marketing, sent her message with the subject line "Campaign for Mike" to friends and family. It asked them to sign an online petition to President-elect Barack Obama "to consider keeping Mike Griffin on as NASA administrator."
She wrote, "Yes, once again I am embarrassing my husband by reaching out to our friends and 'imposing' on them. . . . And if this is inappropriate, I'm sorry."
The petition drive, which said that the President Bush appointee "has brought a sense of order and purpose to the U.S. space agency," was organized by Scott "Doc" Horowitz of Park City, Utah, an ex-astronaut and former NASA associate administrator.
A cash-strapped NASA last week also sent out -- by priority mail costing $6.75 a package -- copies of a new NASA book called "Leadership in Space: Selected Speeches of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, May 2005-October 2008."
And just before the presidential election, Griffin sent a letter to Obama saying, "I am deeply grateful to you, personally, for your leadership" on the vote to allow NASA to use Russian spaceships.
"It sounds like the only thing left is to stencil Mike Griffin on the side of a shuttle," joked Paul Light, a professor of public policy and a presidential transition expert at New York University. "I've never heard of a campaign to keep one's job that goes beyond the edge of private discussion. . . . Maybe he should be texting next."
Griffin's press secretary, David Mould, said Griffin is not campaigning to keep his job and expects Obama to name a new NASA chief. But Griffin would be "honored" to be asked to stay.
Mould said he couldn't speak for Griffin's wife. She did not answer an e-mail from the Associated Press.
As for Griffin's book of speeches, it was a natural for the NASA history office and coincides with the end of the presidential term, Mould said.
NASA did not publish books of speeches for Griffin's two predecessors, said spokeswoman Ashley Edwards. The agency did produce a compact disc of speeches by Dan Goldin, NASA's longest-serving boss, just before he left in 2001.
Griffin, a rocket scientist who holds seven degrees, has been on the job since 2005.