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)


    February 23, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Dante in Madison, WI

    John McWHO? Oh... the crotchety old guy who *lost* the Presidential election? He's still talking?

    Marine 1, Air Force 1 and all of the other modes of transport for the President of the United States are matters of National Security. Regardless of who is in the office of the President, the vehicles should be at top operating capacity.

    Doesn't mean they can't use the bully pulpit to get contractors to come down on price.

    February 23, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    @ Cheryl Brooks from CA

    They're complaining because they hate him for the fact that he represents the loss of their stranglehold over our nation. No more, no less.

    February 23, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. RussC

    Not to mention the fact that Obama himself said the extra helicopters are unnecessary....

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. xylon

    Media will never stop amazing me!

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. jeff

    sour grapes john ... find something productive to do.

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. Ken Pittsburgh

    Marine One was approve by a Republician Congress for King Goerge
    It needs to be retought but do not but this on Obama

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. lee

    Bush ordered this helicopter!

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Just Saying...

    It's interesting to see all the folks [some Republicans especially] questioning President Obama on spending when they didn't question Mr. Bush on the illegal war & it's spending that jump started the spiraling of the ecomomic mess that they expect Mr. Obama to clean up in 30 days!

    Please give me a break Mr. McCain and let President Obama and his team do their jobs which includes cleaning up the mess you helped create. You either jump on board and help cleaning the mess or sit down somewhere in one of your many houses! uugghh...

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. David

    @Michael S
    The article does state the process began early in the Bush administration.

    McCain should shove it? It sounds like President Obama is in agreement with McCain here. If there is money being spent unwisely, I'm glad McCain is speaking out. I'm also glad President Obama is willing to listen. The discussion is a good thing.

    If the fleet overhaul is cosmetic then I think it should be stopped. If there are things being done for safety like reworking the airframe, engine, countermeasures (chaff, flares, shoe deflector), then it probably needs to continue. I suspect it's cosmetic and should be stopped. Hopefully that will be the case.

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. Virginia

    Shut up McCain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 23, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. Tom

    The only simple thing I dont understand is that why is this McCain still hagging out for, he lost so big and why could him not accept his fate and let President Obama do his job. try other countries presidential treatment, you will know that the US is lacking behind. President Obama is a man of the people and know what he wants at a particular time. The best thing the President want is this old fool Mcloser to keep quiet until they vote him out of his senatorial seat.

    February 23, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. Rick Sutter

    Cheryl, stop screeching.

    February 23, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Willy Brown

    sure was allot of faces in the crotch moments.

    February 23, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. quorie

    McCain is such a hater.

    February 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. prairieguy

    I believe these choppers were orderede by the Bush admin Johnnie boy not Obama...so scream at the admin you so much were in favor of before you and they lost!!!

    February 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. KLS

    If McCain had won I bet he wouldn't have any issues with the cost of the helicopters. This process was started by Bush - why didn't he complain when ut was approved to overall the fleet? Doesn't McCain have anything constructive to worry about?

    February 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. Nick

    And mccain makes news. Not on stimulus this time, it is on what Mr. Obama is riding on!

    February 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. Marge

    Certainly would have been nice, if the republican governors and senators who are pretending to be so cost conscience, so supporting of this country, would have used just a little bit of that put on to try to stop bush and his ruination of this country.

    If they had not rubber stamped every single thing he did we would not be in the mess we are in now....SHUT UP OR LEAVE THE COUNTRY REPUBLICANS, you should be so ashamed of yourself.

    February 23, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Jackie in Dallas

    You know, with all the GOP whining (like Palin), or basically saying that someone is dead (Bunning on Justice Ginsberg, and dozens about Senator Kennedy), and now McCain pressing President Obama on the helicopters ordered by President Bush, if the Democrats are imploding, then the GOP is collapsing. Perhaps we need TWO new parties in the U.S. It is so sad to see the state of the political world...ethics violations, tax problems (although that is not limited to politicians - IRS says 80% of people make mistakes on their returns!), party jockeying, pork spending, obstructionists on both sides, and pure pettiness. If most of us working people acted like this in our own jobs (those of us who still have one) we'd be out on our butts as fast than HR could delete our access to our email! Perhaps we should pick up a political tradition from some of our allies - a vote of no confidence. Perhaps if the idiots on both side of the aisles were confronted with immediate response to their idiot moves, they might think before opening their mouths. As it is, there's a long enough time for us to hopefully forget their stupidity before they come up for re-election!

    February 23, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. Jacque Bauer

    What's with you looney Dems? You feel sorry for "working familes"; you see "two Americas" everywhere you look; you expressed OUTRAGE at every opportunity when Palin BORROWED a few nice clothes for the campaign trail (and then returned them); you DEMANDED that corporate execs drive to Washington...

    But, drowning in hypocracy, you have NO PROBLEM when FLOTUS wears new DESIGNER duds at every occasion; when O's own cabinet and finance team drives FOREIGN cars; when Queen Pelosi flies the largest 'corporate' plane in either private or government life (next to the Prez); when O himself is getting a new $11Bn fleet choppers, when the existing ones are perfectly fine...

    February 23, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Frost/Tennessee

    I have to agree with Bush ordered the new chopper.. just didn't get ready in time.. Now they want to blame Obama.. figures..

    February 23, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. republicans hate america

    dear McPhony how much did the photo opt you had in Iraq cost the tax payers you know with all the helicopters hovering and full entourage of military escorting you through those streets you called so safe? god i hate you so much you loser

    February 23, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. MJ

    I think we need the updated helicopters for safety reason. Should have spent the money that we can't trace to get them before he left.

    February 23, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Tabby

    lol! That was a perfect response by Mr. Obama!

    February 23, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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