"He needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space."
She even classified it as the race to space and not the more generic "space race". I think its pretty clear what she insinuated victory in the race to space was since she stated the USSR won it and its historic fact they got into space first.
Dumb political move, sure. But to critique some are doing of her intelligence on the race to space comment seems a bit of a reach.