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. ROB

    For all you McCain haters.....
    McCain has lots of houses thanks to THEIR money, and not other peoples' money.

    Obama should be the example. If he tells everyone that they need to lay low cause of the economy, then Obama himself should lay low....America has a 11 TRILLION deficit !!!

    Hey, Nancy Pelosi....How dare you tell CEO's not to use a private jet when you yourself have one when Americans are paying for it and we're in a defecit ourselves!!!

    Dems........GOT to love them.....hahahaha

    February 23, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. Matthew, Detroit

    REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT the President needs his helicopters.

    I would hope that they could monitor the pricing and keep it tight.

    They need to make that DEFENSE CONTRACTOR cut the price

    depending on what the cost is.

    THIS IS NOT A REB VS DEM issue just like the LIMO was not. They are needed by the President and that is the bottom line.


    February 23, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Al-Chesapeake

    He's going to need good transportation if he is going to fly all over
    the country everytime he signs legislation. What is wrong with
    just signing it in DC like previous presidents did? Quit showboating.

    February 23, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. BRL

    Where was the outcry from republicans about the new fleet of helos when Bush was still in office?? Now all of a sudden McCain speaks out - where was he 6 months ago on this?

    February 23, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Marjorie S

    Sour grapes John McCain – they were all ordered by your "Buddy" George – get over it!

    February 23, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. republicans hate america

    had mcloser been president he would have used all of that transportation for his golf trips....give me a break you phony!!!!! I am so happy you lost

    February 23, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  7. Ben

    Mccain can not stop to Amaze me. He still don't get it that he lost and Mr. Obama is the President not candidate Obama!

    February 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. Matthew, Detroit





    February 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. republicans hate america

    if you mom looked like a man such as mccains mom does you would be bitter and stupid too.

    February 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. v best

    McCain SHUT THE F-UP. Where were you when Bush added $5trillion to our national debt. No GOP has anything to say, just noise. I feel sorry for you loosers.

    February 23, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Bill

    Mccain need to stop his BS like Liberman and accept Mr. Obama as his President!

    February 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Rick

    Grandpa sounds bitter.

    February 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Phil

    Er, Sen. McCain . . . where was this question when the procurement process began - with Bush?

    February 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. Steph

    I didn't hear him complain about this expensive plan for new helicopters until he knew he wasn't going to be the one riding it them. George W Bush wanted the fleet of 28 new helicopters and NONE of the Republicans who are now wailing about fiscal responsibility said anything about this while their guy was in the White House.

    February 23, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. jkilvik

    A bit more than 'tacky' on McCain's part but Obama handled it in a graceful and respectful manner. Class tells...

    February 23, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. SJW

    McCain you lost get over it. and stop trying to down Obama. You nor Palin are not news worthy then or now.

    February 23, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. Bill Lucas

    Of all the issues plaguing our nation this is what McCain asks about? This is the same idiot that chose Palin as his VP candidate; suspended his campaign because of the downturn in the economy that he had just pledge was fundamentally sound just days before; took 3 days to rush to Washington D.C., said nothing at the emergency summit meeting and went on to accomplish nothing. What a loser.

    February 23, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. kay

    Bought by the Bush administration...maybe McCain is getting too old to be honest, or is using "selective memory" to his Party's advantage.

    February 23, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Louis

    Where was Johnny when the helicopter procurement process started during the Bush administration? What a joke.

    February 23, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Angie

    old man mcsame needs to shut up and sit down. the president is happy with the copter he has. he is NOT asking for a new one.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    Ok I want to make sure that I read this right that President Obama as well thought the helicopter may have been a bit pricey. If that IS the case then the far right wingers have no reason to attack him for overspending on himself and such like they do when he takes a trip outside of Washington. But I assume they will still find some reason to say this is Obama's fault so may as well get ready for it.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. KFR


    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. america first

    mccain, mccain, mccain! YOU HYPOCRITE! go away you are a TOTAL disgrace to America.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. dave

    I just can't stand where all the anger on this board comes from, I think some of you need a hug or something. First of all President Obama is the President of the United States, not a royal monarch. He does not rule over us, those of you who think that way are really off base. I think the point is that our economy is suffering and in the time of a massive downturn an elected public official shouldn't be spending in excess. To compare a private purchase, i.e. John McCain's houses doesn't make sense, because the money is his money not the taxpayers.

    We get up in arms over the auto makers flying to DC, but it was their money. So they can do what they want....which is the reason they got in this mess, but still not my problem or my concern. Now that they have borrowed our money it is our concern, the same way presidential helicopters are our concern.

    So we are going to get mad at John McCain for calling out an expensive purchase when we are broke, that makes as much sense as AIG spend 500,000 dollars on a company retreat.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. Is this the best he's got

    Did John McCain ask former President George Bush about his helicopters? This cannot be part of the main agenda the republicans have in their quest to provide leadership on the economy. This project was approved and appropriated for under the past republican administration.

    I have an idea for John McCain, go back to our office and come up with a better question to ask the leader of the free world, who is trying to bring this country together to fix the issues that trouble it's citizens.

    One such question would be – How can I help you Mr. President

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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