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

Gibbs: Obama puts new presidential helicopters on hold

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/24/art.prezchopper0224.gi.jpg caption="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. Obama Obama

    we knew he was planning on doing this to begin with.. mccain is only trying to stir the pot and claim credit for it.

    February 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. Walter

    So what's wrong with the former Marine One helicopter?

    February 24, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  3. Fiscally responsible

    Thank you, Sen. McCain.

    February 24, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Seattle Sue

    I suppose McCain will take credit for helicopters being put on hold,although Bush put the order in for them.

    February 24, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. cream

    "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."

    NOW it's an issue and it's President Obama's fault for this? People just want him to fail and are saying anything to make it seem as though he and his family are living an ostentatious lifestyle. They are our First Family and should be afforded each and every accoutrement afforded to ALL Presidents and their families.

    February 24, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Hannah Stevens

    The voice of reason returns to Washington. Finally after 8 years of out of control spending, our president is taking a hard look at all of the programs and will decide what is important and what is not. Unlike bush who threw our tax dollars at two wars and nothing to show for it. Our infrastructure is crumbling, schools disintegrating, no health care, no money for social services, children and the poor. The bush administration were criminals and should be tried for treason. In the first year in Iraq, Bremmer took billions of cash to the country and it was carried off in wheel barrels. So sad for our country. That is money that the middle class worked hard for and it was thrown away.

    February 24, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Todd

    Wow, so you're going to cave in because you were challenged in an open forum? What about all the jobs that would have been, or were, created to make these copters? What do those folks do now, oh great leader??

    Again, looks like an awful lot of the same!

    February 24, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  8. Henry

    Way to step up to the plate and demand "real change" McCain! At least you're in Washington somewhere.

    February 24, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. Retired Army in San Antonio

    OK.......so let's get this straight:

    Bush orders a fleet of new helicopters after 9/11.......which still haven't been delivered.......the price is NOW double what they were originally priced at........and McCain is now somehow accusing the President of waste?!?!?

    OK........got it 😉 !

    February 24, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. babs from Denver

    Petty McCain got his "point" across on national TV. Too bad he didn't start that question with "the new helicopters ORDERED BY GEORGE BUSH" . McCain is a petty, petty, angry old man.

    February 24, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. Independent

    In an above statement, it says that Obama "pressed" about the helicopters??? I was watching and McShame just asked a question about them, I didn't see anyone getting "pressed." Besides, President stated that he already had talked to Gates about it and it wasn't going to be....

    Do you think if he is asking other people and business to cut back that he wouldn't?????? How ridicules can you get...

    February 24, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. sam washington

    The copters was ordered while Bush was in office. Mcclain should have called Bush about it, but he waits until we have a black president in office to bring up the subject. I guess whether you are a poor black, middle class black, or just one of the most powerful black man in the world, whites are going to single you out and tell you that you must cut back. Well I still want my 40 and a mule, so President Obama get your copters, man.

    February 24, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. yuri

    Now that's a start to appease a lot of conservative GOPs, right away. The program must completely be shelved and the money must go back to the people.

    February 24, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Baze

    Alright whatever. Even though Bush put this order in, Obama is the one managing it now. Can we please chalk this up to bipartisan compromise?

    February 24, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. Ethan

    Once again, the Republican Party blaming BARACK OBAMA for something that BUSH did!!! When will these idiotic games end from the Republicans?!?! Is it possible for the GOP to be truthful about just ONE thing? Unbelievable.

    February 24, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. Mary Bookman

    Good for him!!!!!

    February 24, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. Rick Sutter

    What is different about this $11B compared to the other crap in the bailout bill? At least the helicopters are made in the U.S. Those are real jobs. How many real jobs are we going to create by promoting STD awareness?

    February 24, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Frost/Tennessee

    Again a republican orders it, a Democrat gets the blame for it by another republican.. republicans will never change their whinny ways

    February 24, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Sniffit

    "YOUR proposed..."

    Pin Bush's nonsense on Obama much? Bush ordered them built years ago. Although, I'm sure McCain wouldn't mind seeing the old ones cause Obama trouble or get him hurt.

    February 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. Typical White Person

    But, but, but...Stimulus is SUPPOSED to be about spending, remember?

    So if you want to fund ACORN it's good, but if you want to fund manufacturing jobs it's bad...

    Who are you and what have you done with my country?

    February 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. juliebird

    I think it's important to note that President BUSH placed the order for these helicopters. It's not as if President Obama went in there and all of a sudden decided that new helicopters needed to be ordered three weeks into his presidency. Unless there are safety issues with the current helicopters, I'm glad he placed Bush's order on hold.

    February 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. Kate

    So McCain is questioning President Obama on an order for new helicopters placed by EX-President Bush! OMG Will the republicans stop at nothing to try and make this President look bad in the first month of office.

    I will say it again – What is the matter with these people. Thankfully the American people could see through McCain/Palin, and the whole Republican Party (including Joe Scarborough).

    February 24, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. obama-mama

    Good for you President Obama. Don't see why one man needs a fleet of helicopter. On the other hand John McCain would have kept the fleet if he was elected president. McCain is a fake and a hater.

    February 24, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. John in Ohio

    So McCain attempts to call the President out regarding the new helicopters and their ennormous price tag.

    Ooops ... McCain miss fired again!

    Where was he when GWB ordered them to start with? Why would they need to be a "Mobile Oval Office"? They're used to shuttle the President to & from various locations ... typically rather short distances.
    I can see improving their efficiency and their fly-ability in case of an emergency.

    BUT $400 million each .....

    Kinda goes in stride with the off road vehilces the DoD ordered that'll cost $300, 000 each, when all they had to do was order some Jeep Ranglers at about $20k apiece.

    February 24, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. Collin

    "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." So, Isn't this just one more example of an overpriced Republicant "security" project? I wonder how much Cheney stands to make off that deal?

    February 24, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
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