February 24th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
5 years ago

Gibbs: Obama puts new presidential helicopters on hold

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the President has put on hold an order for a new fleet of presidential helicopters orginally ordered by the previous administration.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the President has put on hold an order for a new fleet of presidential helicopters orginally ordered by the previous administration.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama put on hold an order for a fleet of new helicopters that will cost at least $11 billion, his spokesman told CNN Tuesday.

"The president talked to the secretary of defense, and I think as he said yesterday to Sen. (John) McCain, we don't need any new helicopters at the White House," Robert Gibbs said on CNN's "American Morning."

Asked if that meant the order was being put on hold, Gibbs said: "That's exactly what he talked to the secretary about."

McCain, the Arizona Republican who was Obama's rival for the White House in last year's election, questioned the president about the cost of the new helicopter fleet on Monday.

"Your (proposed new) helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One," the presidential airplane, McCain said. "I don't think that there's any more graphic demonstration of how good ideas ... have cost taxpayers an enormous amount of money."

The price tag for the proposed new fleet of 28 helicopters has virtually doubled to more than $11 billion over the last six years. Each helicopter in the fleet would reportedly cost around $400 million.

President Bush put in the order for new high-security presidential helicopters in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The president's helicopter is known as Marine One when he is flying on it.


Obama suggested Monday he would put the order on hold.

"I've already talked to (Defense Secretary Robert) Gates about a thorough review of the helicopter situation. The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me," a smiling Obama said to a room of laughing congressional, corporate and community leaders.

"I think it is ... an example of the procurement process gone amuck, and we're going to have to fix it," he added.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. Steven in VA

    Good job. John McCain. Well done!

    February 24, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Gabriel

    Good for you President Obama
    Backfired John McCain – a man that i admired and supported against George Bush.......disappointing John......not your style.....

    February 24, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Darren D.

    The President has to be protected! The President is White or BLACK!

    February 24, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. P. D.

    Is it just me, or did McCain seem bitter? For a man who traveled on his wife's private jet to campaign for his failed bid to become President, he should have come up with a better question.

    February 24, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. Trader-Steve

    Excellent work... Its going to take Obama a while to scrub clean the filth that was left by the last administration.

    February 24, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Jane Reis

    Not surprised Obama questioned the need of new helicopters, but I wonder if McCain opposed "Bush's" pricey helicopters ?

    February 24, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. BV

    An order that was most assuredly backed by Senator McCain originally,

    February 24, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. republicans hate america

    had McPhony been president he would have weaseled and explanation why that is appropriate to spend that money you know something like national security and would have told his critics to buzz off. Obama on the other hand continues to extend his hand across the aisle and actually stopped it. At some point or anpother I hope Obama just tells these idiots like McCain to go to hell where they belong

    February 24, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. KLK

    I loved Pres. Obama's response to McSame yesterday. Made McSame look really dumb!!!

    February 24, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Di

    Obama needs to cut more PORK. He was elected for Change! We the people did not know he meant all of OUR CHANGE! In protest all Americans should DO NOT WORK on April 15 2009.

    February 24, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. T.C.

    Wow, CNN. The only expectations I have lowered are for your network. I have seen more negative or unfavorable news focused on our new President on this website in the last couple of weeks than the garbage I see on Fox News. Let's get one thing straight...Pres. Barack Obama is 1 man. Let's see any of you try to tackle head on the most pressing and catastrophic economy collapse in recent history. It's easy to criticize and scrutinize someone when you're the one looking at the seat, but not sitting in it. While I think most people can agree that the media is anything but objective anymore, I still respected you as a network and thought you reported pretty fairly on politics...until now. The man has only been in office just over a month, and I feel like you all have him in a petri dish, ready to criticize his every move and breath. He said it before he was even elected, and he continues to say it now: The economy is going to get WORSE before it gets better. We all KNEW this. He also said you can't expect him to be a savior, and that it's going to take TWO terms to even put a dent in cleaning this up. Our grandchildren will still be feeling the effects of the last administration. So don't act like it's a surprise and try to pin the worsening of our condition on Pres. Obama. Remember...he INHERITED this mess. If there's anyone you want to criticize and report consistently negative things on, you need to report on former Pres. Bush, who unlike Pres. Obama yet, had EIGHT years (not just over a month) and destroyed standing in the world. Give Pres. Obama some credit, and in the meantime, ask yourself what YOU can do–other than report subjective, divisive, opinion-saturated "news"–to help the state of our country. Remember, he also said he needs OUR help, too.

    February 24, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. Brenda

    President Bush put in the order for new high-security presidential helicopters in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

    February 24, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. ElaineB

    My first thought was that someone would be making money making the chopper, but on second thought, that money should be used to expand flight for life. Thanks to the White House for realizing they did not need this.
    Now, will anybody note that the deficit more than doubled (from 5 to 12 trillion dollars) under Bush? And we started with a budget surplus.
    The man bankrupted a number of companies, looks he did the same with the country.

    February 24, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Tom in S.A.

    Hope they don't leave half built ones out there, finish what they've started and don't start any new ones. Wonder why there's 28 of them??

    February 24, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. T.C.

    F.Y.I.-My post was in response to the Poll: Lower expectations for Obama's Speech...not the Helicopter article.

    February 24, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Citizen

    Good thinking Mr. President.

    February 24, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Nathan,

    Dosen't the President need the highest security possible when he flies in these helicoptors. Dosen't building these helicoptors keep some people working. How many people are ging to lost their jobs because of a political gotcha.

    How many think that McBush is sitting in one of his 11 houses laughing at how he got the President on this one? When is Obama going to say" you lost old man, sit down and shut up".

    February 24, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. barbara

    Off topic but doesn't it seem like there will be alot of parties at the white house? Pictures of Obama holding a glass of wine, cocktail parties and now dinner parties, superbowl parties. too much partying for first month in office. He will be an alcoholic by the time he runs for re-election.

    February 24, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. carey

    this was the bush admin and the republicans gift to the pentagon its nothing new. its while the republicans ran the show? now this democrat as president has to account for every nickle he wants to spend . what you think about this campbell brown?

    February 24, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Ron Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

    Thats right .Show the American taxpayer that this wont fly.Instead remodel the old fleet of copters.That way The prez will get a better copter and save the taxpayer some money

    February 24, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. dave meccariello

    i give the man credit for dampening his own administrations "perks of office". this is a man who is "in touch"

    February 24, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  22. Bet

    I think that even though folks laughed about President Obama's statement about "I never had a helicopter before" it shows that he is willing to cut expenses whereever he can...how many would have went ahead and said the "order was already in" and never thought twice about the expense.

    And I saw that the talking heads were giving McCain the raspberry for bringing it up. I think McCain was not far off in asking about the helicopters expense.

    At a time when we have folks living in cars with their children the idea of spending huge amounts of money on these helicopters is almost obscene...JMO,

    February 24, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. Republican are ankle biters

    Bush knew that he and his Republicans thieves wouldnt have to pay the bill for the helicopters,so he put them on the Democrats charge card.

    February 24, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    McCain is such a joke these days. He tells the President "your" helicopter, yada, yada, when he knows good and darn well that Bush ordered them. The new choppers are, in fact, Bush's idea, not to blamed on Pres. Obama. However, I'm sure there will be plenty of neo-con trolls on here later whining that Pres. Obama is wasting money on a new helicopter!

    February 24, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Bananarama Victim

    Added McCain: "Get off my lawn now! Matlock's on.

    February 24, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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