February 24th, 2009
05:20 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain presses Obama on pricey helicopters

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/23/art.maccopter0223.gi.jpg caption="Sen. McCain mentioned the hefty projected price tag for replacing the President's fleet of helicopters as the White House's fiscal responsibility summit ended Monday evening."]
(CNN) - President Obama said Monday he’s pretty happy with helicopter he has - though the new commander-in-chief joked he's never had one to compare it to.

During a fiscal summit at the White House Monday, Arizona Sen. John McCain - Obama's former rival for the White House - pressed the new president on the Defense Department's plan to overhaul the fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters, a process that began early in the Bush administration.

Watch: 'I've never had a helicopter before,' Obama says

The price tag for the new helicopters has been estimated at over $11 billion, more than the cost of Air Force One - a cost that Obama said appeared unnecessary.

"The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me," Obama responded to laughter. "Of course, I've never had a helicopter before.

"You know? Maybe - maybe I've been deprived and i didn't know it. But I think it is a - an example of the procurement process gone amok and we're going to have to fix it."

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (328 Responses)
  1. Beverly, NYC

    Where is the story here? Does John Mccain want him to spend 11billion on helicopters that go from the White House lawn to Andrews? I agree with the President this is unnecessary, and I'm surprised that someone in the fiscal responsibility party doesn't think so. Tour helicopters in Hawaii see more flight time than these over priced noise buckets do.

    February 23, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Kent

    $11 billion dollars to 'overhaul' 28 helicopters? Is that the result of a competitive bidding process administered by Secretary Gates? We need a cap on defense contractor profits. This is outrageous.

    February 23, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. Michael

    And what is with Obama flying to Colorado on Air Force 1, spewing green house gases and wasting tax payers money, when he could sign it in Washington. And to make it worse, Biden few out on Air Force 2 for the signing also. Then Obams does the same thing, flying to Arizona to anounce his housing bill. Why not just a press confrence from Washington. If Bush had done any of this the press and Democrats would have been all over him. Seems like Obama spends most of his time flying around the country in Air Force one and holding big parties in the White House to "bond" with America.
    Only the Democrats who voted for this idiot are fooled by him.

    February 23, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. NW

    The people of AZ: please do get rid of this guy.

    February 23, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Jo

    Would McCain have even brought this up if he where the one riding in the helicopter? I doubt it. What a spoiled little brat he is showing himself to be. Bush is the one who wanted the new ride. John its time for your nap now.

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Bankrupt in USA

    McCain never pressed Bush on his heliopter expenses, nor the expenses for his frequent trips to Crawford. Looks like McCain the sore loser just couldn't help but take a partisan cheap shot at his commander in chief. Why doesn't McCain vote against spending he says he opposes?

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Brian

    Not even close to the full story. Google "Italian helicopters" and "yellow cake". We're supposed to buy new 'copters from an Italian manufacturer because their intelligence agency provided the fake documents "proving" Saddam had gotten yellow cake plutonium from Africa. Apparentlly, McCain is doing what he can to make this happen.

    Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Google.

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Len

    I sure glad John McCain is not our president. He really does not care about the middle class or poor.

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Sandy Carey

    Gee, John - how concerned were you over this when it was first instigated by your bud, Shrub? Seems like Obama is on target here with the obvious answer, but it would have been really neat if you had shown some concern a bit earlier - like when the Shrub was in the WH! Brother, are we ever glad you are NOT!

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. samantha

    okay so why is McCain pressing obama on anything thaat has to do with money..?

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Michael S

    This story should mention that the choppers were ordered by Bush, not Obama.

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Once You Vote Black

    Great idea John. America rejects you and all you have to say, and you think the best bet is to say more? The more you say the more rejection you get.

    February 23, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. arithmetic is liberal

    This from the guy who, during the 90's, made a case for funding additional B2 bombers who cost three times their weight in gold, and whose stealth coating couldn't withstand the assault of a garden hose...

    Astounding, McCain.

    This guy is more like King Lear with each passing day.

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. JSU-TIGER99

    Why do he need to be press on a issue that issue, He have stated that Air Force One is fine for him. I don't think the President will spen $11 Billion dollar of the taxes payer money on helicopters when you have people without a job. If he do that he know for sure that in 2012 he will not get voted in again if he was to do that. The man is SMART not to do it

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. arithmetic is liberal

    So I guess it's ok for a white president to fly in Marine One, but not a Black President.

    We didn't hear this crap when Clinton was in office.

    February 23, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. sakina

    Way to go Mr President!!

    February 23, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. shoegazer

    Can someone tell me why any President needs 28 helicopters?

    February 23, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Lesley

    a process that began early in the Bush administration . . . why wasn't he complaining about it then?

    February 23, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. arithmetic is liberal

    McCain supported a stealth bomber prototype that cost 3 times it's weight in gold and whose stealth coating couldn't even hold up under being sprayed with a garden hose, and he's causeheading this?

    February 23, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. Zack

    Yet another non-political issue politicized. This is a professional call for the Secret Service, not a decision that should rest primarily with McCain or Obama, neither of whom is particularly knowledgeable in the tactical operations of protective details and counter-terrorism.

    February 23, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Amanda

    Obama is sooo considered about everything. It's nice to have a president who considers other people's needs ahead of his own. President Obama will get my vote 2nd time.

    February 23, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. meh

    Uh huh, let's ask McCain about his...how many houses does he have now? Hypocrite.

    February 23, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. Abby

    cute, mccian...how does it feel to set a trap and watch the a smarter guy let you fall in it? Have you not learned from the election. Mr. suspending-my-campaign? LOL

    February 23, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. Peachy Keen

    Of course, McCain didn't say a word when his boyfriend G.W. ordered the helicopters. All these Republicans are such hypocriites.

    February 23, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. sensi johnson

    Why is this a story when Obama already said he's okay with the USED one he has? Why didn't McCain ask the Bush administration this question in the first place? I think it is time we respectfully request the McCain/Palin ticket to take a break. My 2 cents.

    February 23, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
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