I decided to surf around some of the U.S. Presidential candidates' websites to see what they had to say about innovation prizes. I've posted some things here and there about prize politics, but most (not all) of it has been Congressional or internal to federal agencies. This was by no means an exhaustive search, but here's what I came up with. I didn't find anything about space-specific prizes, unfortunately. Most of it was generic or energy-related. I didn't find much from Republican candidates (just a debate comment from Huckabee), although prizes can fit in well with Republican economic ideology in that they are sometimes better and cheaper than big government spending at solving problems in a way that at least simulates good features of a free market.
energy issues link (similar information on this fact sheet)
Support Next Generation Biofuels
Deploy Cellulosic Ethanol: Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013.
blog discussion link (I couldn't find anything more official)
He just mentioned an X-Prize-type deal to get a car that reached 100 mpg. I am ALL for that (although I would prefer that gallons of gas were out of the equation altogether)! We need more of that from government. Government is too expensive.The role for government is to encourage business. I am all on board with a government X-prize. Private businesses can spend 1 bilion much more efficiently than government.
Huck's Army.com forum
America has always been about developing technology and bringing it to market. We need to lead the world with Alternative Energy. I hope Huckabee has specific plans for this. He mentioned in the last debate, offhand, how we could provide, say, a $1 billion prize to the first company that achieves a 100 mile per gallon car. I think he is spot on. But do it more like this: $1 billion goes to the first American company to sell 500,000 vehicles in the American market that get 80 miles per gallon, if done by 2016.
Science and Innovation Speech
I've also called for competitive prizes to encourage innovation. Back in 1957, President Eisenhower, when he met with his Scientific Advisory Committee again, wondered if there were a way to keep people as excited about science as they were about sports and competition. And this was back when reality entertainment meant playing in the neighborhood park. Why not encourage people to innovate through healthy competition?
Innovation Fact Sheet
Direct the federal agencies to award prizes in order to accomplish specific innovation goals. The federal agencies should regularly use prizes to encourage innovation when there is a clearly defined goal and when there are multiple technological paths for achieving that goal. Prizes can attract non-traditional participants and stimulate the development of useful but under-funded technology. Hillary Clinton proposes to make prizes a part of the budgets at the research agencies.