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. JT

    A sign of a sore loser.

    February 23, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. Jean

    Obama is about about money and black-tie dinners.

    You people will learn.

    February 23, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Marty Roewer

    Each of the 28 Helicopters at $400 Million a copy, will cost more than Air Force One !!!

    February 23, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Gpenn

    These were ordered and paid for by Bush. Where was the McCain outrage then?

    February 23, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Where is the OUTRAGE when in 2001 GW BUSH gave 1.35 trillion dollars in TAX CUT to the RICH & CORPORATE AMERICA

    how pricey is john mcsame 7 houses?!!!

    probably not in billions, but how can you justify staying in 7 houses and yet he is questioning excesses – that to me is political grandstanding at his worst!

    it's sad that he still doesn't get it – it's just going to be an endless campaigning for the old guy at this point!

    I love the pic though!!!!...john mcsame looks like one of those irrelevant jerks just paraphrasing questions he got from rush limbaugh & sean hannity to the president...lol!!!!!

    February 23, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Had It

    This must be one of Ed Henry's brainfart articles.

    February 23, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Jackie in Dallas

    Michael S...the story DOES mention that the helicopters were ordered by the previous administration. I think McCain wants the best because he still thinks he's going to be able to ride in it someday...fat chance buddy!

    February 23, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. John in Binghamton

    I don't see how this is his chopper if Bush is the one who ordered it to be built years ago and Obama says that he doesn't need it???

    That was a low blow McCain. I used to think you were a man of honor.

    February 23, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. Steph

    Is McCain at the Republican Governors Gala going on right now? Nice way for the "compassionate conservatives" to say to the people hurting in their states, "Let them eat cake!"

    February 23, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. GOP victim

    I wish McCain would go home and hid in one of his 10 houses. I think it is funny how he said he would work with Obama but know he has turn his back on the new president. Maybe he is taking his marching orders from Rush like the rest of the Repugs. I also cannot believe the GOP govenors turning down the stimulus package from states that have hard time in the best of economies.

    February 23, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. Richard

    Interesting that McCain is still trying to campaign months after the election is over. He just seems bitter! Did he present this as would you axe the 11 billion dollar project my buddy Bush ordered? So now are we supposed to hold Obama accountable for the actions of Bush and Republican congress such as McCain. Like the campain McCain is just not making rational sense.

    February 23, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. They're Smiling In Your Face ... All The Time They Want To Take Your Place

    This is the type of dishonest political manuevering that boggs down Washington. These words shouldn't be coming out of McCain's mouth.

    McCain knows (or at least should know) that this helicopter was ordered 4 or more years ago under President Bush. By now, we've committed to this design and it would be a complete waste of money to do anything but complete the transaction.

    Moreover, as someone suppose to care so much about the "Commander-in-Chief", McCain should be a big supporter of this new helicopter. It reflects a 30 year leapfrog in technology to keep the President safe and in communication with armed forces while on board.

    Bitching about this helicopter is cheap political fodder. I expected more from John McCain.

    February 23, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. Matt in MN

    @ Michael S "This story should mention that the choppers were ordered by Bush, not Obama."

    And the Private Jet that Citi or whichever company had and was just about to receive had been ordered by the previous CEO, 7-9 years earlier and they were just finally ready to receive it and make the last (and largest) payment..

    But did the media bring up that part of the story? So why should we have to cover the entire truth this time?

    February 23, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. DON

    McCains still feeling the sting! He just needs to go far far away!!

    February 23, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. bern

    Old worn out guys like McCain complain about everything.

    February 23, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. Sound of slience

    Who ordered those helicopters? It began as a Bush deal, so why wasn't McCain harping about it then? He was fresh out of ideas during the campaign, other than "tax cuts". My guess is that the helicopters would have gone without McCain's input. Seems like all the Repubs know how to do is criticize. didn't have any great ideas during the Bush years and now don't want anyone to show them up. Now that's patriotism at it's best.

    February 23, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Steve

    The one who who knew nothing of the economy and ran on absolutely nothing has an awful lot to say now does'nt he? LOL

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. Nathan,

    The nerve of that old fart questioning Obama about something that his boy Bush had ordered. How is Obama supposed to work with these rethuglicans if all they care about is scoring points with the public instead of leading the country. That old coot didn't complain when Bush rode a $100 million airplane onto the deck of an aircraft carrier. The President is supposed to have the most up to date equipment for security and effieciency. The President needs more than one helicoptor more than that moron from Arizina needs 11 houses.

    I used to respect Mccain but now he is just a petty partisan who needs to be in the spotlight even if it means being the head of an opposition party that is out of touch with reality. What a pathetic way to go out.

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |

    JOHN BOY, go back to AZ where your foreclosure, unemployment is so high and spend your energy there and quit worry about President Obama. If you spending all your energy worry about the President and how you can stump him if I were a citizen living in AZ I would be pissed off you spend most of your time worry about the Democrats and hell bent on stopping them and putting a "surge" on them. Go to work for your fellow Arizonians.

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. Page Turner

    McCain's suggestion that we all walk on our hands to save shoe leather hailed by Republicans as visionary...small minded losers

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. Han

    More bitterness from McCain. Whatever Obama does there'll be Republicans trying to spin it into something bad. Gah, it's pretty damn frustrating.

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Nan

    Legit question and great answer.

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Tom

    Other key part of Obama's response... "I've already talked to Gates about fixing the problem."

    February 23, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. L for Legend

    Does McCain still think that the economy is fundamentally sound? He still does not have a clue about the state of the economy, helicopters, stims, or anything else. Americans should still be rejoicing that he wasn't elected as POTUS.

    February 23, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  25. grant

    cheryl brooks from cali

    Do the math bone head, 11 billion for 28 choppers = 393 million each.
    10 x the sticker price of the baseline chopper.

    February 23, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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